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Lotus suspension in a circus tent

I've wanted to experience suspension for almost a year now, so it was so exciting to discover that there's a suspension artist in Israel. I feel like Israel's alternative culture is always disadvantaged by size, but then again – the people that ARE into something are usually very friendly and open.

Captain Howdy was holding Israel's 3rd Suscon by the time I found out about it, and it was to be held inside a circus tent. Strange as it may seem, this really psyched me about the event as I love circus-aesthetics and also I've never been to the circus! So it sounded like I would have the perfect setting for my first suspension.

I was going to go for the Superman suspension, but then it hit me that it meant being with my face towards the floor all the time, and that sounded depressing. So I saw some more photos and read some more reviews and I stumbled upon the Lotus, which was the first time I admitted there could be beauty in the external form of a suspension. I also liked the idea of being able to look down or up.

A week before the Suscon I phoned Howdy to ask about the suspension and he assured me and said the lotus was good for beginners since most of the weight lies on the hooks in the back, just like the suicide which is a classic beginner's. The one thing that troubled me (apart from choosing the perfect outfit) was where in the world could he fit hooks above my ankles??

All during the week before, I made sure to moisturize my skin which is naturally very dry. Some guy wrote in his experience that the piercer complimented his soft skin, which helped the hooks to slide in easily. I really wanted them to slide in easily too...

So the day came, and me and my good friend got to the tent. I ended up being the last to go up but managed to control my nerves.

Howdy started by marking my back. Then he had me sit in the pose in which I wanted to suspend, and marked my legs – two on the thighs above the knees and two above my ankles. Then came the hooks – in retrospect this was the most painful part and breathing right was crucial! As each hook got in I could feel the flesh ripping as the hook made its way to the exit point, but although it hurt, it was a kind of pain I never felt before, so it was rather interesting.

The hooks he used for my thighs were thinner than the ones for the back, and the ones above the ankles were really delicate-looking (my friend called them baby-hooks which was funny yet disturbing). Howdy explained that they were meant just to hold the legs up and wouldn't carry much weight. But they felt tight, and I asked if I could take them off in case it would get uncomfortable. He said, worst case, we disconnect all the hooks from the legs and there you have it – another suicide suspension (there were a lot of those that day).

Then I moved to sit on a chair with its back to support me while he threw the hooks in my back. The left hook felt not good when it came out, and I was worried that it will hurt a lot more than the right one when I would be suspended.

After hooking me, I sat on the bed under the rig that was to hold me. I was told that in this type of suspension, the balance and everything had to be just right before I go up. So it took a while but I was impressed by the calculated way he did it, at first he wanted to cross the ropes from my ankles so that the ropes themselves would create the lotus shape. But that meant having two ropes just beside my face and that wasn't that great, so he hung them straight instead, meaning that I could open my legs if I wanted to.

When all was set, he walked to the rope and said he was going to start pulling for a bit, and that I should tell him when to stop. At that point I was really nervous, as every shift or touch of my hooks hurt and I had no idea how I was supposed to go up like this. It felt like – If it hurts so much just touching the hook, stretching it will be terrible. I kept talking to my friend (or more to myself) about it, deciding over and over that I have to go up. I will go up. Even if for a minute. I have to do this.

So Simon (that's Howdy) is in front of me, starting to pull gently. I feel the pressure gathered in the hooks but not as points of awful pain as I thought, it was more like pressure that was distributed so evenly that it didn't hurt at all. It was even kinda pleasant. As he continues, he expects me to stop him, but I have no desire to do so. I get to a point where all that's keeping me down is my butt glued to the bed I was sitting on, once that was released I was in the air and happy. I was not very high up though, but when the bed was removed it felt pretty far from the floor.. the sensation I had was just like being pulled up from my back and in a way it felt warm and cozy, since I felt tightly wrapped in my skin. My legs didn't hurt at all, although I was still holding them a bit using my muscles but as I let go I felt they were fine. My left back hook was not hurting at all, and in fact I didn't really feel where exactly the hooks on my back were.

My head naturally tilted a bit upwards and my hands to the side, and I was just perfectly comfortable. It was just a nice feeling, and everything felt so well-balanced. After realizing I was alive and ok, I asked to be pulled up as high as possible, and even the slights bounces as I was pulled were not hurtful. When I was up, my friend stood underneath me and she had to jump to touch my legs!

I kept talking to her and to the remaining few that were around, and I found myself saying spontaneously "this is all I wanted, was it really so hard?!" and going through my photos I saw how much I was smiling and happy.

I think reading tons of experiences on BME helped me to be so prepared, I was prepared to have a shitty experience but at least with a satisfied curiosity. And I ended up with a good one. I have to admit, I did not get the shock I expected or any special serenity afterwards. Nor was I extremely buzzed on endorphins during or after. But that is OK. Because I wanted to do this, and I did.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 21 Dec. 2008
in Ritual

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Artist: Captain+Howdy
Studio: +
Location: Kibbutz+Yakum

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