my first suspension, why and how
My First Suspension... Why and How When I was in grade four or so, I read a book on Native Americans for a report. I remember reading about a ceremony in which a brave becomes a warrior (o-kee-pah). In that ceremony, his pectorals got pierced with a flint knife and leather thongs inserted. He was then suspended by the thongs until he passed out. I don't remember much else, but the story stuck with me. Why would someone do such a thing? How could they overcome the fear and pain? Years later, as a body piercer, I have become very interested in the rationale behind body modification. My interest, first in piercings and tattoos themselves, has led me to a deeper interest in the ritual and spirituality behind such things. A person can only be asked "why would you want to do that?" about his/her body modifications before they begin to wonder. Obviously, such desires are deep-rooted in the human psyche. Having never been very fond of pain (who is, really?), I have often questioned my sanity when sitting on the tattoo chair or piercing bed yet again. So why then, would I want to suspend myself? While there is no one definitive explanation, a good part of it must be the ritual itself, the spirituality that one feels when accomplishing something important to themselves. It may be that in our minds, fear and pain come with merely being, and to overcome them is one of the ultimate accomplishments, to take control of one's life. There are many ways, however, of overcoming fear and pain. Why do a suspension? For me, the choice wasn't conscious. These thoughts were provoked by the suspension itself, when asked why I did it. I'm a body piercer, and as such, very aware of the fact that people around the world were performing suspensions. My interest in typical body piercings on myself has declined and led to dermal punches, play piercings, etc. I have always been very spiritual and the suspension experiences I read fascinated me. They brought me back to the story of the o-kee-pah ceremony I had read about years ago. Why not do it? I had planned the suspension gradually, first building a suitable rig. I ordered some hooks through DMT, and some four gauge needles from our supplier. When a body piercing friend of mine told me he was leaving after the next weekend, I decided Sunday night was the time. We planned to do a two-point suicide (back) suspension. Everything was ready. I was nervous and exited all day Sunday, and had trouble concentrating on work. Sunday night, another friend of mine, Ted, showed up to help out and take photos. This was a very private thing, and two people were all the audience I needed. Ted and I waited for the coffee shop in the building I work at to close, because the suspension was to be done in the building's foyer, where the ceiling is nice and high. We were also still waiting for the piercer (who shall remain nameless, because I'm really pissed at him). Being notoriously unreliable, he didn't show! I had a backup plan, however! I had brought some Emla cream so that I could do the piercing myself, through my knees. We got set up while waiting for the cream to numb my skin sufficiently. The cream took enough of the edge off so I could concentrate on doing the piercing. The piercing was eerie, nothing like piercing yourself with a four gauge needle! Once the hooks were in, we set up the rig (by that time we had the building to ourselves). I hooked myself up (pun intended) and Ted slowly began to raise the chain hoist. We went very slowly, allowing me to get used to the pain, one bit at a time. After about five minutes or so, I was up! It was very surreal. I felt pain, but I was overjoyed at the fact that I had done it! Ted took pictures and kept an eye on the rig. I stayed within arm's reach of the ground in case something gave way and I fell (I didn't "cheat" and touch the ground, though!). After a few minutes I felt comfortable enough to swing around and enjoy myself. Ted took more photos. By five minutes I began to feel a lot of pain from the hooks and decided to come down. Kind of short, but not bad for the first time. Ted slowly let me down. When I was fully lying on my back, I experienced a wave of pleasure that's hard to describe. Not like an orgasm, but kind of like being on ecstasy and feeling a breeze around you. Ted took a picture (my favorite one). I then took the hooks out and we cleaned up. For the whole time, we had been talking almost like we were out for coffee or something! The whole experience was very casual, but also private and incredibly spiritual. It's odd how something like that can be so relaxed, but so spiritual. Ted later said that it was the coolest thing he'd ever experienced. One week later, I did the suicide suspension, with the lovely Carla (my shop's other piercer) enlisted to do the piercing, but that's another story...
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 07 June 2001