I do have a very ambiguous approach toward body suspension. I certainly love the concept and challenges behind it but I never get excited about it since this one time when my hopes soared high only to crash when the event I was supposed to attend was cancelled. Ever since then, whenever an opportunity to suspend or pull appears, I just don’t get excited, don’t hold my breath and I certainly don’t look forward to doing anything along the hook lines. If it happens, it’ll happen; if it doesn’t, at least I won’t be disappointed.
That was exactly my attitude toward our (meaning me and Bastian) planned pull that was supposed to happen during our stay in Hungary. I knew that Bastian is quite persistent when it comes to things he wants, so I hoped that maybe he would be able to get us some hook fun but I was also skeptical and packed in my brand-new, never used before hooks very grudgingly.
When we met Gabor on Wednesday, August 8 2012, things started to take a more definite, solid shape but I decided to keep my cool and just wait and see for things to develop in their own way. For then and there we just decided to meet on Friday morning (August 10) to go to a place we could suspend at and then to get back to the shop to get some scarification work done. We left our suspension gear (hooks and needles) for Gabor to sterilize them and had a lot of things to enjoy in the meantime.
We talked a little about our suspensions and I decided to get as much from it as possible. Since I had four hooks at my disposal, I wanted to go for a chest suspension first (to try something more challenging and new for me as I don’t count my chest/ back combo experience back in Oslo as a real attempt at chest suspension) and then to have some fun with a suicide suspension as I have really great memories from my first suicide suspension. A right rig wouldn’t be a problem here, either, as it would be enough to use the simplest rig and do both suspensions one after another.
The Friday morning was a little cloudy and chilly but nothing to worry about. A slightly lower temperature than on the previous day made my morning run really nice and I was in a good mood. We ate a nice breakfast in our hotel (at the thought of the croissants my mouth still waters a little), packed our stuff and were good to go.
Gabor was already waiting for us and then he led us to the place of his choice which proved to be pretty much in the middle of the city but still nicely secluded and not overly frequented by people (during a few hours we spent there, we saw only a handful of people and these were probably mostly tourists). There were trees around us, fresh green grass under our feet and yet we were still able to hear a buzz of the city just a few hundred meters away.
I was the first to go under the needles. Gabor prepared a piercing station and we decided to insert all the hooks in one go instead of doing my back after my chest suspension. I was quite nervous about the piercing part as it’s never a great pleasure. I had a small experience with being pierced with big needles (re-piercing my lobes to stretch them) but it certainly didn’t make me immune to slight fear and doubts.
Much to my surprise, the piercing part was both painful and amusing due to the guys pinching and grabbing my skin in a really painful manner. Gabor coached me to do the usual ‘breathe in and out’ routine and before I even noticed I had two of my huge 5mm hooks tucked in under the skin on my chest. A change of position, some more pinching and groping, breathe-in-and-out later, I also had hooks in my back and from now on I could say that at least I had 5mm hooks in. Suspending from them still seemed a little unreal, distant and not really possible.
I approached the tree and Gabor rigged me up. Since Bastian was in charge of pulling me up, I asked him to do it as fast as possible as that’s my favorite method. He’s quite gentle a guy, though, so it didn’t happen fast enough for me.
I turned my mp3 player on, with the first notes of Ministry’s Test track in my ears, and tried to prepare for things to come. I felt this weird tingling in my stomach that always appears whenever something exciting and challenging is going to happen and I was dancing on the edge of fear and desire to make it happen.
We were standing on a slight slope, Bastian a few steps up from us, ready to pull the rope. I felt a growing tension of the rope and saw hooks slowly stretching my skin. I tried to pull some of my weight on the hooks and made a step or two up the slope, thinking that it would help and make things go faster. I was afraid of pain and but even more of backing out. Finally, when I was standing only on my toes, I leaned slightly forward, grabbed Gabor’s elbows looking for support and with a weird ‘aaah’ sound I felt I was in the air.
The pain wasn’t as excruciating as I thought it would be. There was a weird, heavy pressure in my chest and I couldn’t focus much. My eyes were closed and I felt I was swinging around; the darkness under my eyelids was spinning around me, making me feel very odd. I didn’t actually hear the music in my earphones; all I felt was this painful pressure in my chest and an overwhelming feeling of spinning around. I said ‘put me down’ and after what seemed like a long time I felt the ground under my feet. When I opened my eyes, I was grinning as I just realized that I really did it and it wasn’t half as bad as I thought it would be and it made me feel elated!
I asked for a few sips of orange juice and told the guys I wanted to go up again. Even though I already knew it wouldn’t hurt much, there was still this sense of apprehension and fear of the unknown, so I again grabbed Gabor’s elbows, made the ‘aaah’ sound and was in the air again.
This time was a little longer and I could relax a little bit more and hung down loosely. I let my body hung from the hooks, with my arms along my body and my face up to the sky. I heard a few notes of the music and it wasn’t Ministry’s ‘Test’ anymore. There was the pressure in my chest again and I tried to explore it a little more, to see and taste what it was like. Again, I couldn’t focus and relax enough to just immerse myself into the physical and mental sensations flowing through me. The joy of having done it was in there, though, and it made me excited!
My chest suspension lasted only several seconds each time and even though now I feel slight pangs of regret for not having tried to be up for longer, I still feel quite proud of the way I handled it. I never felt panicky and overly lost. I faced the pain and the unknown and now I know I will be able to do it again.
For me this chest suspension was just a sort of test, to see if I could do it. Once I saw I could, I moved to the next stage and started looking forward to doing a suicide suspension, anticipating all the fun I associate with it. When I was down on the ground again, Gabor cleaned my chest a little bit and re-rigged me for the suicide. I was bursting with excitement by then as I wanted to swing back and forth and enjoy being in the air without feeling the pain and discomfort and that’s what a suicide suspension is about for me.
I have done too few suspensions to know if this initial, slight fear just before you get airborne can disappear completely but so far it’s always with me. I don’t really remember the moment of going up but I do remember how I hesitated just for a moment to lift my legs and go off the ground. Once up, though, I felt in my element and quickly got used to the very light pressure in my back and a slightly crouched position I had to take.
The sun was out by then and my eyes wide open. The world looked beautiful and I felt quite happy about being up in the air and ready for some aerial fun. The guys pushed me back and forth a little, so I could get my momentum and I could start enjoying myself. I looked toward the city, peering through the trees and hearing the buzz of cars just a few steps away from us and yet everything seemed so peaceful and natural in our little place.
The suicide suspension makes you feel free and gives you a great opportunity to have fun but you have to have enough space for fooling around. I soon realized that it wasn’t really possible then and there as our rig was too close to the tree trunk and it seemed to get in the way. It didn’t stop me from some more swinging and turning around, though, and I really loved every second of being in the air.
I called it a day a few minutes later, though, as it was past 11.30am already and we still had Bastian’s suspension to do and then driving back to the shop to get the scar work done. Sometimes you just can’t be overly selfish and care only about your own fun, so I went down. Taking the hooks out and massaging the skin and getting rid of the air bubbles from under the skin took a few minutes and soon after dressing up my nicely huge hook holes we were ready to take care of Bastian and I could have my revenge for his poor groping skills.
The hook holes in my chest were so big that Gabor wanted to suture them for me. I’m all for scars as a way to remind me of what I’d been through, however, so I decided to let them heal on their own! A week later, they are doing fine and hopefully will make nice, little scars!
Even now, almost a week after these suspensions I still feel a nice, light pain in my new hook holes and I totally love the feeling. They remind me of this great, quasi-old ritual-like thing done in the middle of the modern city and I love how weird and absurd it may seem to others.