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My Birthday Suspension - Becoming "A Man" Ritual if you will. . .

While I was in South Carolina, I found a widely known suspension group that was located in certain parts in the north-east. I got in contact with Cere, the guy responsible for the NYC chapter of the group. I told him that I was wanted to do a suspension for my 18th birthday. He proceeded to ask what position that I was interested in, and I said that it was either Suicide, or Superman. He talked me into going up Superman style, simply because it was my first time, and that's what the Superman is good for; enjoying the experience of just hanging and getting used to it all. I told him that I was out of CNY, and that I would hopefully either get a ride to NYC, or get a bus ticket. We then scheduled it for a week after my birthday, the 18th of October. Well, that didn't really work out, because I couldn't find a way there. A couple weeks after calling him the first time, I called him back voicing my problems with getting there. He then told me of a dude named Noah that do es suspensions in Geneva out of Extreme Graphics, Tattoos, & Piercings, and gave me a number to contact him at. I told him that I would give him a call and thanked him. I then proceeded to call Noah and set up an appointment for the day after my birthday, the 12th of October. Then began the countdown of days to not my birthday, as it would be with most kids, but the day after.

So, the day that I was to hang, I woke up regular enough with my girlfriend beside me. We were both a little uncomfortable because we slept on a damn cot. Anyhow, the time spent waiting to go to my hanging was regular enough, except for some feelings of anxiety; I was both nervous and excited at the same time.  My dad had a tow call around 12:30 and didn't get back to the house until about 1:30. The trip to Geneva, where the studio was, took about 45 minutes to and hour.  I had called Noah to let him know the situation and how late I would be.  The ride there was nerve-racking, thoughts of pleasure and excitement and nervousness racing thorough my head.  When we got there, the door was locked because the shop is closed on Sunday for other business such as mine.  I knocked on the door and Noah answered.  My first impression of this dude was that he seemed pretty cool.  His ears are gauged out to 2" and he's tattooed on both of his arms, on one the left side of his neck and a

third eye tattoo. I walked in and immediately noticed the rig that would be soon responsible for suspending me in midair by nothing but my skin. I introduced my father and my girlfriend, and then asked to use the bathroom. On the way there, I walked by the rig and excitement raced from my left side (where the rig was) to my right side, as the rig itself was the responsible for it. When I returned, Noah asked me if I brought any music to listen to during my session. I didn't think about it, but what I listen to is the same stuff being pumped out of speakers in most tattoo shops anyways, so I told him to put on whatever. I then lay down on the table so that he could see what parts of my skin would be the best to pierce. He marked with ink on a toothpick lines across my back, so that the hooks would be pierced evenly, and where the hooks would go in and come out. Once he was finished with the prep work, he asked me whether I wanted him to go on my first or second breath . I decided to go on the first. He then asked where I wanted him to pierce the first set of hooks, and I said that it didn't matter. He then suggested that I start with the back of my thighs, which would probably be the ones that would hurt the worst. I thought that getting the worst out of the way first was a good idear, so went along with that. When he was ready, I braced myself for what I imagined would be some intense pain, but received only a slight pinch and a little burning afterwards. I thought to myself, that wasn't as bad as I worried myself about. The next 6 hooks went without a hitch. When he got to the top/right side of my back, I breathed in, and breathed out, like with all the others. When I breathed out, he starts the piercing, but for some reason, this one didn't want to go all that easily. It almost seemed like either the skin was slightly tougher, or the needle slightly duller; but none-the-less, it went through. I then went to stand up to stret ch out and just feel the weight of the hooks in my back and legs. When I did stand up, I met the most unfortunate part of my experience. I began to feel immediately lightheaded, dizzy, and flushed. I had to sit down, and as funny as it might seem, I went to the bathroom and then felt better. I then joined my father and Noah at the door of the shop for a cigarette to calm my nerves and symptoms. It was when I flicked the butt of my cigarette to the street that I knew it was only moments until I was floating!

So I was lying on the table once again, and Noah began to thread my hooks with rope and anchoring it to the rig hanging from the ceiling.  As he was doing this, I could feel slight tugging on my hooks and I was beginning to smile at the feeling.  Once he was finished with the rope, he asked me if I would like to go up quickly in one motion, or slowly a little bit at a time. I choose the latter of the two simply to savor this new experience.  As Noah's nameless friend began to pull my rope to lift me higher, I felt the hooks begin to pull at my skin.  There was a slight burning sensation, as Noah said there would be, but I embraced it and told him to stop pulling me up for a minute.  As the burning dissipated, I told them to continue, and he must have pulled up only slightly and I was about to say stop again because the burning had returned, but then cut myself off and said "Fuck it, lets go!"  He then pulled me completely off the table and all I can say is "Oh what a feeling

!" It's almost indescribable what was going through my body and mind simultaneously. I think that the only part of it that I could put into words was that I didn't feel anything bad, everything felt just fine. I think that it might be comparable to starting to smoke, except minus the cloudy feeling in your head. That's about as good as I can put it into words. I was laughing at the perspective that I had, floating in the complete middle of the room. After I got settled in the air (that doesn't even make sense) I began to wonder what else was there to do except for, quite literally, just hang out. I asked Noah to spin me around in circles. He started to push me so that I spun slowly at first, but then began to push me harder and harder so that I spun that much faster. Even though I despise The Teacups, Ferris Wheel, and other spinning rides at the carnival, I was still enjoying myself. I then began to slow down, and thankfully I did, because that all to familar feeli ng of about to blow chunks was stirring deep in my stomach. Once I stopped, we just began to talk amongst ourselves, things that we've encountered, asking about each others body adornments, and future plans that we had for ourselves. While we were talking, I guess Noah had thought of something else for me to do, and he walked up to where my feet were hanging and grabbed the rig at the end of it. He the began to push me back and forth like a pendulum. This was really fun, I could feel the wind on my face, knowing that I was hanging made it that much better. We continued to talk, and then Noah says, "I don't do this for too many people, but since you're not going anywhere, you want a smoke?" I agreed, as he had a pack of Djarums, which are a brand of clove cigarettes, and one that I haven't enjoyed in a long time. Although it was just smoking a cigarette, once again it was as if it was a new feeling. When I was spinning around, I had wound up the chain between the ceil ing and the rig, so everything that I was doing had a very slow spin on it. Noah was sitting down on a stool with a cup of water for ashes, and I found it kind of amusing that every time that I spun around to see him, it would be almost the perfect time for me to ash my cigarette. It wasn't long after I was finished that I had decided to come down. Once I had said this, Noah tells me that the feeling of coming down was just as unique as the hanging itself.

He put the table back into position for me to land upon it, and his friend began to lower me down.  When I body began to touch the table, and the weight began to shift from the hooks back to my body, I was met with another unique feeling,  It was as if I weighed twice as much as I remembered; kind of like someone else was lying on top of my back, it was really weird.  Once I was down, Noah cut the ropes from the rig, and de-hooked me.  I began to feel somewhat empty, but was aware of the final step of being suspended.  When you're hanging, the skin is separated from the muscle tissue, creating an air pocket.  This air pocket cannot be left there, so it is pushed out through the holes that the hooks created.  When he was doing this, it felt so weird to feel the air rushing through my skin, although it wasn't completely foreign to me, as it was similar to what I feel when I take my gauges out of my ears and can feel the wind blow through them.  The sound that it made was sort

of a quiet whooshing noise, at one point, one of the holes that he was directing the air out of actually make a clear cut, farting noise. Everyone in the parlor began to laugh. After he was finished with removing the majority of the air from my skin, because it's impossible to get it all of by rubbing it out, what is left is disposed of through the body, he bandaged all of my wounds and from there, I was good to go.

I know that people look upon this with mixed views.  Some people are utterly repulsed, simply confused, bewildered, or amazed.  I accept them all, because I did this for myself, no one else, so it honestly doesn't matter to me what anyone else thinks.  I think after this, that if there is anything at all that I want to achieve, that I will pursue it and follow through with it, simply because I know that after all of the waiting and feelings, its most definitely worth it to get what you have worked yourself up to.  Although this may not be for everyone, I think that if you are interested in this, don't think twice about it.  Obviously, do your necessary research, as with anything related to body modification, and just go for it.  And after writing this, I think reasoning for doing this is mostly in part of our Western Society.  Western Society, as a people and expectations, have relinquished itself of any sort of rituals for almost anything.  If you take a look at our history

, tribes had a set ritual that one would have to achieve to either gain adulthood, or that next rank of status. There are still traces of that today in African and Eastern Societies, and I believe that this is something that should have remained in ours.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 30 Oct. 2008
in Ritual

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Artist: Noah
Studio: Extreme+Graphix
Location: Geneva%2C+NY

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