{December 21, 2017}   Suspension Retreat

I wonder how I can start this without it sounding exactly the same as every other suspension writing I do. How do I make this different when all the same feelings happen every time? I wish I had had the time to write this sooner, the longer I leave this the harder it is to remember details that I wanted to mention. My memory frustrates me with things like this.  Of course I can remember the awkward moment I started to talk about my outdoor suspension.. to one of the people who helped facilitate but I can’t remember the really important things I wanted to mention.

The beginning is always the same. I walk up to the group of people outside and I am welcomed by smiles. The first feeling you get around these people is home. Its simple, we are a group of people who often don’t fit in. Or at least I feel like we are.. maybe these people do fit in and its just me that walks through life feeling like the outsider. But we are different, what we do is different. Most people can’t imagine what we do and the joy that it brings us. Most people don’t get it.. but we do and we band together as a family because what we share is intimate and special. We show a vulnerability to each other that you don’t see in many places. We laugh, we cry, we inspire, we teach and we are accepted. Just us, as ourselves with no need to put up walls to hide behind. I am more real around those people than I am at any other social situation, because I am just accepted for me. That is love, that is family. And some of these people I only ever see at these events but I am always welcomed by a smile, as if it was just yesterday that I saw them.

The first day that I was there, was the 2nd day for everyone else. I missed out on the hilarity of a group pull as well as other amazing things that happened the first night. When I arrive everyone is relaxing, some only just getting up to start the day. The suspensions were slow, not much happening for most of the day. But by the afternoon things were starting to happen again. I didn’t see much as I went down to the bridge to do my own suspension. Originally I wanted to do a coma with a forehead hook but when I heard that there was an outside point, I didn’t want to miss out on that chance. We could only do simple styles out there which meant for me a 2pt suicide. I hate suicides, everyone goes on about how great they are for movement and hell yes they are, but for me I just can’t last with them. I feel the muscles in my back pull right from the top of my butt and its that pull which I find hard to deal with. I switched to doing angels because I didn’t get that pull but found I still had great movement. But 2pt suicide it is and to be honest, it was the best suicide that I’ve done. I felt like I was up much faster than previously and I was able to breathe through things once I was up and start moving around pretty quick. I didn’t last all that long but I knew I wouldn’t. Its an amazing feeling to be outside in the sun, to feel the water on your feet and be weightless. To feel that tension on my skin which has grown almost comforting to me now. I don’t know how to describe how peaceful it was. No sound of cars, no buildings or screens. Just outside feeling the warmth of the sun, floating, moving, feeling water run along my toes as they dip into the stream. It was beautiful and I did this on my own. I normally have certain people for support but they weren’t there, I did have people that I know who were part of it. And I was very thankful that they were there but the ones who normally hold my hands or check the hooks and make me laugh, there weren’t around for this. This was mine, on my terms, just for me. That suspension was really the ultimate freedom and I will always cherish that feeling.


After that I was happy to watch people. I was happy to sit in my own little bubble and just be surrounded by these inspiring humans. At some point when I was making food, someone said something to me. Its one of those things that I wish I could remember because it struck me so deeply. I laughed it off a little but it was repeated, it was something about me being able to do incredible things or underestimating how amazing what I do is. I don’t remember and I probably have it all wrong but whatever it was it made me believe that maybe what I do is something worth watching. I often feel like my suspensions are pretty standard, nothing exciting for those involved. Mostly because I don’t think I suspend well and don’t see the other things I do to myself as that spectacular. I take ages to get up, I’m not up for long depending on the style and it seems like a big giant fuss for a few minutes of air time. Which shouldn’t matter at all because the fact I even attempt this stuff is something most people wouldn’t ever do. But my nature to compare myself to others is something I am still working on, so to hear what I did when I did, was very powerful to me.

I already know this is going to be very long but there are things I want to mentioned because they are important to me. The installation for one. That installation still plays in my mind because it was so, so haunting. Even watching the hooks being put in became a part of the whole thing for me. Mostly because I could feel her pain. I could tell by the noises she made which hooks she was okay with and which ones took all of her strength to get through. It was hard for me to listen to because it was the kind of moment where I just wanted to go and comfort her. It was agony to sit there in the back and not be able to help. That many hooks in that many places was fucking tough and I know full well that I would not have managed it. The rigging itself took forever but I was impatient because I was so exhausted. The rigging had to take that long because it needed to be perfect. And when things started it was so worth waiting for. The whole scene reminded me of a viking ritual. Sacrificing to a Valkyrie who sat there cross legged, hands above legs, black face, black hair and feathers, skin pulled in so many different directions and slowing spinning around. A couple in front of her, paying homage in a sadistic way. It fucked me up. I don’t think I have ever seen something so beautiful in such a dark way before. Since the retreat I have thought about that installation more than I have thought about the things that I did.

The next day things were very slow moving again. The night before was very long but the day was filled with more laughter, stories and some pulls. This was the day that the 2nd amazing thing was said to me.. but now I don’t remember what it was. At the time it struck something in me and I absorbed it and kept on to it. Whatever it was it affected me and I am thankful for it but I wish I could remember what was said.

Watching the 4 way throat pull was amazing. To cause vibrations on the string and watch the changes in people as they feel it. I did a pull later on in the day, I didn’t want to miss out on having a forehead hook and I was not disappointed. The centre of my chest really sucked but the forehead hook was magic. My friend and I spent most of the pull being complete dicks and laughing at absolutely anything. It was so much fun to be outside, around people I care about and just laughing. I was super fucking high in those moments and all simply from the chemicals in my body. The human body is an amazing thing.

I watched a couple suspend together. Legs intertwined so they were up close, sitting with knees up. Able to touch each other, talk to each other. It was beautiful to see that kind of closeness, for them to be going through it together. Suspensions like that are the ones that normally make me cry, they hit so deep within me. I see such beauty in what we do. To me it doesn’t look gory or fucked up, its just beautiful. To watch peoples faces as they find inner peace, or to hear the laughter and see the smiles as all those chemicals kick in and they fly round like an idiot. This is all magic to me.

I learnt the history of Skindependent, what it was born from, how it developed and changed and got better than the founder himself ever thought. It was interesting to hear the changes and to be able to pinpoint when I entered into this as well. I don’t even remember how on earth I heard about them to start with but my beginning was the scout hall.  Since that beginning I haven’t looked back. I have moved further and further forward and have been able to witness some of the changes that have happened over the years. It was something that started off so small and over time it grew and became so large that I think even he lost his way with it. The spark died out, it became routine and the life that he had put into it started to diminish. People get tired, people change the things that are important to them and people find new outlets and none of it is bad though it is hard to feel like you might be losing something which has been home for so many years. The formality of it all sucked the fun out but I know that this retreat did a lot of good. This isn’t the end of suspensions, it is only just the beginning of the next chapter. Where it goes from here, no clue. But I know things will happen because for the first time in a long time, I saw that fire back. It could take another year, it could take 5. But something will happen at some point because now there is purpose again, now it is fun and full of life again. So I’m not sad about the hiatus, I haven’t really lost the thing which saved my life.

I always talk about the emotions that this causes me. I’m an incredibly emotional person and right from the very start this has done something to me. I don’t need suspensions to survive anymore but for a long time I did. It was my outlet, it was how I healed myself, it was how I showed myself that I was not allowed to give up when the only thing I wanted to do was give up. It was my cure for depression when I was so desperate for something in my head to change. It was never about self harm, self hatred, I’ve never done this to mutilate myself. I do this because I don’t know where I would be if I had never found this group. When I say this saved my life, I mean it. There wasn’t a point where I actually wanted to die but there have been points in my life where I just didn’t know how to keep on existing. It hurt just to breathe, being crushed by this invisible weight on my chest day in day out. To not be able to think, to be sleeping too much or not being able to sleep at all. To feel like one day I would implode under all this pressure and simply not be there anymore.

Suspension showed me that I could keep going. That even though things hurt, at the end I would find peace. That not everything is permanent and those feelings won’t last forever. It gave me freedom and happiness on days where I didn’t know how to keep putting one foot in front of the other. It has dragged me out of very, very dark places. Suspensions are home to me. They show me I am strong, they show me I can keep going, they show me that giving up is not an option. They show me who I really am inside because when I take my feet of the ground, even for just a moment, that dark cloud over my head doesn’t hurt me anymore. That is everything for me. I don’t remember what its like to not have depression so I will walk the earth in order to find that one thing which takes that feeling away for a time. Words will never describe how thankful I am for the past 7 years of having suspensions in my life, for having those people in my life. We might not be close but those people mean everything to me.

And yes, I am covered in scars and yes this is probably bat shit crazy to 95% of the world but to that other 5% this is just us. This is who we are, this is how we live and breathe and keep going.

This is my home.












{November 8, 2017}   Head Shaving Ritual


Before anyone continues to read this I wanted to write a disclaimer. This was my Ritual, this was personal to me. This was done how I wanted it and it might seem strange to be naked in front of people but there was a purpose to this. This is difficult to publicly share so if you want to judge me that’s fine, its your opinion but please don’t question me as to why I did this the way that I did this. This is my spiritual journey, this is my road to self love and self care and if people being naked offends you then please stop reading right now. There were certain photos that I wanted to include in this but haven’t, so don’t freak out people you won’t see me in the buff if you keep reading.

I thought maybe if I write this now, I might purge some of the negative views going on in my head. I knew before I started this that things inside me would change. I always change from rituals, its why I do them. There is always a period of time that I look at myself and think “What the fuck have I just done?”. That’s what I am now going through.. I haven’t reached the point where I feel empowered and beautiful. I’m finding it hard to leave the house, especially to go to the gym because my worst fear with doing this, is in the forefront of my mind. I feel like I look much bigger than I am because I simply have no hair now.

How did I get to the point of having no hair though?

For years I have wanted to shave my head. I have no clue why but to restart with my hair has always seemed appealing to me. My biggest fear and the reason why I have put it off for so long is because I’m not a small chick, and I would do anything to stop myself from looking any bigger than I am. This year I needed to do some serious soul searching and try and find the parts of me I have lost. This year became about being reborn. From the suspensions I have done, to the work I have put in at the gym, all of this has come down to a single mission. To learn to love myself, to make way for a more positive future. To figure out the things that go wrong in my head and try and make them right again. And during this year I lost myself in a very massive way. I have crawled through a pit of anxiety and had to learn new ways to cope. But if I am to start a family at some point in the future, then I need to sort myself out because how I have been is very toxic. I don’t want to ever bring someone into this world and not be able to say anything good about the way I look because the way we talk about ourselves and others is what shapes their body confidence. My future is important to me, my mental health, His mental health and the affect that I have on Him and those around me.. I have to sort my shit out. Doing this is part of it because I have to face myself in a very real way.

It had been planned for months. The dress, the mirror, the writing, the music.. everything has slowly been ticked off the list. Every element of this ritual was important. Everything had its meaning, everything had its place and all I had to do was enter.

A mirror in the middle of the room with a circle of flicking lights around it on the ground. This was our space, our circle and He was standing there waiting for me. Its my choice to step over and enter, no one will stop me if I turn and run but I don’t. I step over and everything begins. He kisses me and in that moment I forget that there are people around us, no one else matters right now. My dress is taken off, my bra, my underwear. I’m standing there naked and suddenly the writing on my body is revealed. Before we entered that room we snuck away and wrote things on me. The word I wrote was FAT. This word is powerful for me. Its a word that I decided I wouldn’t let control me anymore and so I freely call myself fat because its a good descriptive word. But it can also be very destructive and used as a way to tear myself down. I wrote it across my stomach, the part of my body that I hate the most. He wrote various other things on me, stupid, pig, useless. Words that He doesn’t ever use for me but words I use for myself. To have those words shown to people I love deeply, it cut me.

I sit in front of the mirror and we start. The first part is done with me holding his arm. I wanted that symbology of us doing this together because this was very much about us doing this together. I drop my hand and I am stone faced. I don’t know why but it was hard to show any emotion or expression at that time. I was trying to hold myself together so much that I didn’t want to show everything on my face. There were a few moments of laughter, when I would tell Him not to get too close to my eyebrows, when He purposely dropped hair on my lap knowing that I have a phobia about hair. Soon my hair was gone. And because it was dark it didn’t seem real to me. I run my hands over my scalp and laughed, it was a very cool feeling but still didn’t seem real.

I stand and He wipes the hair from my shoulders, my back, my face. He wipes away the word FAT and I break. I crumble inside as that word is removed from my body. The power it holds over me wiped away. He kisses me, holds me and that single moment completely sums up our relationship. What we are to each other, what we give to each other and how we love each other. It was a moment that was captured and an image that I will cherish for the rest of our lives. I can’t describe what that was but it was simply us.

There is no holding back now. No pretending that this doesn’t affect me. The words on my skin are wiped away and I am left clean and new and whole. He dries me, no water left on my skin because now we need to write new words. Words which empower, words which stay with me now. The music is changed and I write a single word on my chest. WORTHY.. the funny moment about this was that I couldn’t figure out how to do the Y so He had to help. Worthy is an important word to me because so often I feel like I’m not. Like I don’t deserve good things, I don’t deserve love and happiness when the fact is I am so, so worthy of all of those things and more. He writes MINE across my stomach and I let go of what I’m holding back. Again this is a defining moment of who we are and what we are. I am His and it makes me feel whole knowing that, to know that on the days I can’t love myself, He still does. I will always be His and to me that is magic.

The marker is passed to my Girl. The order of who wrote on me was very, very important, She had to be next. She had to be part of this in a big way for me. She wrote a word on me and as She was writing She looked at Her wrist. I had to laugh, She had written it on Herself because it wasn’t in English and She wanted to make sure it was spelt correctly. She wrote PRAGTIG (beautiful). The order after this I am unsure of, the words that They wrote I can only remember some of. It was our close friends first and then whoever else wanted to. They would write on me, tell me what They wrote and kiss me on the cheek. It was intimate and beautiful and some of the things that They wrote, blew me away. I was humbled by the choices and humbled by the sheer love that They had for me.

It all comes to an end and He thanks people. Neither of us really knew how it would end so He simply spoke up. I thought He did very well considering we hadn’t planned that aspect of it. I step out of the circle and I am new and clean and surrounded by love.

The days following and I am still struggling. I knew this would be part of it, because its always part of it for me. In time I will love what I went through and I will accept myself and how I now look. I find the images to be very beautiful, I don’t look at them and hate my body in the way that I used to. My perception of myself has changed because of this but those old fears will take time to pass. I know that they will pass though.

For everyone who was part of our Ritual, Thank You.



Photography by Archibold

I want to start at the end… but then thats always where I want to start. I want to start with how it felt, what it meant, what I saw. I want words to tumble out like they always do and for it somehow to all make a cohesive story that makes sense. But then, my mind doesn’t really make much sense right now, so I will start at the beginning because at least then it might make some sort of story out of images that I’m trying to put into words.

Ah well, here goes nothing.

It was cold. Everyone who was there will know how cold it was. It figures that this last big event and the heater breaks down. I knew I would be in the afternoon so I wasn’t too worried about it. I never like suspending at this time of year because its always so cold though. I watched the days events unfold, I watched each persons journey. I watched their struggle, their determination, I watched them overcome their own fears and restrictions. For some it was only a moment off the ground but how long you are up, really doesn’t matter. Its how you got to that point that matters, its every sensation you feel, every pain and fear and every release of emotion. Getting off the ground, even for a single moment, is something to be celebrated.. going into that hall with just the notion of giving this a go is something to be celebrated. Getting those hooks under your skin, standing there and trying with everything you have, even if you don’t leave this earth, its still something that most people would never even try. I know that I beat myself up when I don’t get off the ground but give me some time afterwards and I know that the fact I even tried, is a big enough accomplishment. It takes time to see that though.

I knew that the day would be emotional for me. I had spent all week wanting to cry for no reason (thanks hormones!), so I knew that it wouldn’t take much to set me off. I was on pins and needles all day. Watching Mischief go up is what really set me off for the day though. It had been so long since she had suspended and so long since I had seen her in this place that it almost instantly brought me to tears. Watching how her and Eden interacted was magic. She didn’t have to say anything, hardly had to move a hand at all and he just knew to put more tension on. It was amazing to watch this connection so vividly. The connection between them really got to me, it was beautiful.  And when she left the ground, everything was peaceful. It was her moment, her happy place and it struck me so hard that I couldn’t help but cry. To see someone that content, that at home in the moment, how she was is why I love this so much. What suspensions do for people is so, so powerful. Unless you do it and see it, I don’t know if people would ever really get the magic behind it all.

I watched more amazing things. I was happy in my bubble watching people. It started getting late in the day and I knew that my anxiety about doing this suspension was only increasing by the minute. It didn’t really start hitting me that I was going to do this until I was watching Dolly get pierced. I knew I wouldn’t be long after her. I was watching her trying to get up. Impressed that she didn’t need someone to help her balance when she walked. I was told that I would be next. She is up and I have to move away to get ready. Now things hit home. I can’t stand and enjoy her ride like I did with Mischief because now I have to shut off. Now I have to figure out how the fuck I am going to do this.

Music so loud I drown out all my thoughts. I know that I will do this, I’m not afraid of the pain. I don’t know what I am afraid of but its not the pain or the sensation. I think I was afraid of letting go. There are jokes made as my skin is grabbed at, figuring out the best placement for the hooks. I smile but don’t say much. What is there to say? I’m on the verge of tears again and I have no idea why. The piercing isn’t as bad as when I get my back done. They seem to go in a little easier in comparison. The second one really sucked and oh look, I’m crying. It was weird because once that second hook was in, all the chatter in my head stopped. I haven’t been sleeping well lately because my brain doesn’t stop. I will lie in bed and think random things, not bad things but a constant chatter of unimportant shit. Everything stopped. I think I cried because having silence for the first time in what feels like forever, is a big relief. I tried to hold myself together but it didn’t really work. Cried as I was getting rigged up and had to take a moment just to breath in order to make it stop. I don’t know if it was fear about doing this suspension, being emotional all week and having a head which doesn’t shut the fuck up.. I don’t know what it was but just having those hooks in started this huge emotional purge. I don’t know what those emotions were but I feel like it was every emotion under the sun, just tumbling out all at once. Maybe I was more afraid of doing this style than I thought I was. I felt like I was crying for no real reason at all, it was just happening.

Other than the amount of pain this style causes me, the position I’m in makes it really hard to balance. I can’t walk this out like normal and keeping my balance in one place is impossible. I have to hold Toms hands because I feel so unsteady. It doesn’t take as long as I expected before I am on tip toes. Problem is, I don’t think I can get off the ground this way. I need something to push against. Cramp in both legs and I am back flat on the ground. I know that I will do this, I just have to figure out the best way to do it so I can keep my balance. The last time I did this, the person helping me stood with her back to me and I pushed on her shoulders. Tom is too tall so it won’t work that way again. Back up to where I was and I figure out that I need people either side of me. I don’t even care who at this point because I know I am so close to that moment. Mischief comes to the rescue and I have my arms around them both. Not exactly what I was planning but it will work. Change the song, find the right moment, wait for it. Its now or never.

I think that I always have a now or never moment. With chest its even more sudden because it fucking hurts. With other styles I find it more gradual but with my chest it was just all of a sudden this switch flips in my brain and I need up and I need up now. Having someone on either side meant that getting up was so much better than last time. I was up and blinded by pain. Then the strangest thing happened. I remember thinking that I want my arms off of them so its just me, wrapped up around myself. I remember willing my limbs to move but I was frozen. No matter how much my brain told my arms to move towards me, they wouldn’t. I remember the pain, flashing red across my eyes, hard to breathe, hard to focus. I remember time slowing down. You know when you watch a movie and they zoom in on the clock and the ticking starts to slow, slower, slower and then it just stops and time is frozen, then after a few moments it speeds up and up and goes back to normal again. That’s what it felt like for me. It felt like everything slowed down, everything faded around me and I could still feel everything but I was also numb to it. The world stopped for a moment and it was just me, hanging there. There wasn’t pain or emotion or anything. The world was dark and quiet, noises became muted and sensations were dulled. For me it felt like hours but in reality it would only have been a few seconds. Everything started to come right again, noises became louder, lights brighter, pain more intense and breathing hard again. Time went back to normal as if nothing had happened.

I wanted down again. I had had my moment and I was at peace. Part of me wanted to try and go up again, mostly because I wanted my arms to wrap around me so that that small amount of my weight wasn’t on people. I very nearly did but decided that this time it didn’t matter so much. I was tired, I wanted to retreat into myself and figure out what happened. It was weird because I was laying on the table, getting the hooks taken out and bandaged up. I’m told a story about a chest experience, and I don’t know why he was telling me but it was comforting to hear. I don’t know if he just felt compelled to tell me, or maybe he saw a small change in me when I was up. It was comforting though.  I’m shaking and my teeth are chattering but I already know that I will do a 2pt chest again. I don’t know when, when the time is right I will just know that that’s the style to do. But I will do it again. Every time I do it, I figure out an easier way of doing it.

A 2pt chest is unlike any other suspension. What I got from it is very different to what I get from any other style. This was very, very much about my head. So many of the styles I do is based on my body. To see what my body can do, what position I can be in, how I can make myself feel beautiful when in the air, or try something to prove to myself that my size won’t stop me from being in that position. But this, this is all about my head. This is to make all those self doubts, all the chatter, all those depressive thoughts that have been plaguing me for months, to make everything disappear. To find home within myself and feel peace within myself. To know that I can keep going, that I will do well. That the things that are hard in life won’t beat me.

Suspensions have changed my life drastically. I am not the same girl who started this journey. I have learnt so much about myself and what I am capable of because I have been given the tools to see it for myself. Suspensions have had the biggest impact on how I deal with my depression and how I deal with my self image. To know that I can put my body through this and come out the other side even better than before. Becoming part of this community changed my life. When this all started I was in a very dark place, with no way of seeing any light a head of me. These people helped me find some light in the darkness, helped me heal and helped me find the motivation to not give up when that was the only thing I wanted to do.

In a way, suspensions did save my life. It gave me a purpose when I couldn’t find one. It gave me mental clarity when nothing else worked. It gave me confidence when I felt stuck in a body which would stop me from doing anything. It gave me a group of people that accepted everyone for who they were and not how they looked or what they did.

Thank you for saving me.

I am sad about the hiatus but I am eternally grateful for having a 16yr olds wish granted.

I will never be the same again.









{January 30, 2017}   Rebirth

I feel like I haven’t really written about suspensions in a while. I never wrote about my pinup and I never wrote about my 2pt chest (which still saddens me because that was so so important and I should have written about it). I guess maybe it got to a point where I felt like I was always repeating myself. What else can I really say that I haven’t already said a thousand times? How can I describe the feelings and the emotions behind it, how can I make my journey different from all the others I have done now. I suppose that this time it is different though.. this time I wasn’t ready, I was unsure.

I entered into it because I was already having the day off because my girl was going to suspend. I thought I should use the day to the best I could by suspending as well. As it turns out my roster changed so it was my weekend off and she had to withdraw. It never really occurred to me that I was still going to suspend and that I had chosen to do a style which I have wanted to do for a few years. It got to the start of the week and I was kind of like “oh fuck, its this weekend”. I wasn’t prepared and there were several times I almost backed out. I didn’t know if now was the right time, did I really need this right now, was this the style I should do or should I change to something easier.. question after question and no real solution. I made up my mind and paid and didn’t back out. But I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t tell people I was doing it until the last minute and I didn’t even get my music sorted until the night before. I am  never that slack with preparing for suspension. I always have the music sorted at least a week before, I let people know and advertise the shit out of the event to try and get as many people as I can to come see some amazing things. But none of this happened and I was full of doubt.

Even when I got there I was in two minds. I was excited and wanted to do it, but I didn’t feel ready and I was worried if I would actually make it off the ground. This was so far out of my comfort zone that I really didn’t know what was about to happen. The first thing that threw me off was how low the hooks were going to be, I understood the placement and afterwards was pretty grateful for it but at the time it was unexpected. The more I do the more I struggle with the piercing.. I have so much scar tissue now that I really dread it. But because it was so low it was smooth sailing, probably one of the easiest times they have pierced me. Pop and the needle was through. Some pinching and moving and ready to go.

Because of the style I wanted rope around my legs. I’m fat so I was worried that once I was up I wouldn’t be able to grab my legs and curl up how I wanted to. Having my legs tied together was going to make it easier to grab them and hold them. Rope, rigging, lift off.

One of the most painful styles I have done. But I wonder how much of that was mental. It was hard to get into the right position to start with so that when I was lifted I would curl how I wanted. After tension and rearranging I managed to get my hands off that damn table and start curling. It became a little easier after that because I could feel myself shutting off more and more. The more I curled up the less I noticed anyone but myself. I think this was the first suspension where I didn’t share it with my support person. I completely shut off from everything around me. It was just me in that room, feeling pain like I had never felt it before, feeling fear which felt alien to me but feeling comforted by the feeling of curling more and more into myself. I started to panic that maybe this was a dumb fucking idea, everything hurt more, everything sucked, there was no way in hell I could do this. And then I heard this…

There goes my pain
There goes my chains
Did you see them falling
Because this feeling
There has no meaning
There goes the world
Off of my shoulders
There goes the world
Off of my back
There it goes

And I started to sing to myself, I started to feel the words and trust that I can actually do this. Slowly it started, further and further and the pain didn’t go away, the pain didn’t get easier but I wasn’t afraid of it anymore. It hurt like nothing else but its only pain, and pain is something I can overcome because I’ve done it a thousand times.. just keep breathing it out, cry it out. Eventually I lifted away and with leaving the ground everything poured out of me. I wasn’t sad or happy, I wasn’t one emotion but I was all of them. I don’t even know what really happen but all I know is that everything flowed out of me in a flood of tears. I opened my eyes because I wanted to see that I was really off the ground and to my surprise the table wasn’t even there anymore. I was curled up, holding my legs, feeling everything but feeling nothing. In between reality and a dream. And the room was empty, it was just me and even with music blaring in my ears, everything was quiet. Being in that position was the most peaceful feeling I’ve ever had. I was up a lot longer than I expected I could handle. All while this is happening, I’m still covered in pain. It ebbs and flows but it doesn’t leave me. I didn’t think I could stay up for as long as I did, I didn’t think I would be up long enough for them to move the table away… even if that was only for a moment. My perception of time changed. I came back down, everything crashing forward, everything still pouring out of me. I don’t know how long it took me to stop, how long I stayed in that position on the table pouring my heart and soul out.

I don’t remember much after that. I was completely with the planet but I was also very far gone. I was exhausted emotionally even though physically I was coping. I still don’t know what happened. I don’t know what came out of me or why. I didn’t know that a suspension could bring that level of emotion out of me. It was beautiful and raw but so difficult to be seen like that. To be so exposed and open for everyone to see and hear. I still find it difficult to think of how exposed I was in those moments.

Physically it was one of the most difficult styles I have tried but mentally it was one of the most healing. I do feel reborn, I do feel clean and new ready to start over. I’m still trying to piece myself back together. I still feel fragile but I’m healing.

Sometimes the things that you are the least ready for, are the things you need the most to happen. Words can’t describe my gratitude.

{January 30, 2017}   Suspended Beauty – 2015

Its strange the things that come to mind when I think of suspension. Something that can seem so brutal to others, is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever been able to see or even be apart of myself. Every aspect of it touches me. Every ritual, every smile, even down to the carefully laid out white tables full of trays and gloves. All of it becomes part of it and at the very centre of it you have this person dangling by hooks, surrounded by love. Its wonderful.

I walked into the hall and there was quiet chatter from the bystanders. There were three strong men in the centre of the room, hooks in chests, backs and legs. The team worked like a machine around them. One person holding the cross beam still, another set of people watching out for blood, another set pulling the lines through the hooks. It took a long time for everything to be perfect and even then they still went back to adjust and retie. All while these people buzzed around, these men stood still. They smiled at times but mostly they just concentrated and kept breathing. What they were about to do was no easy task and they knew it. You could see it in their faces, read it in their body language, if I had been closer I would have heard it in their voices.

When everything was ready the music changed and the lights went off. The only light was the spotlight in the centre shinning down on them. They rose up slowly. Perfectly still, perfectly connected, all in the same position standing upright. They paused for a moment, breathing, feeling, being. Soon they were slowly spinning around. It was something I don’t think I could ever forget. From the moment it started I couldn’t look away. Something about it sucked me in and even if the earth had opened up on itself around me, I would never have noticed. I couldn’t hear anything or see anything other than what was right in front of me. For some reason I started crying, I wasn’t happy or sad or anything. I was just in total awe of what was unfolding in front of me that I was completely overcome by emotion. There was nothing else in the room anymore, just these three men slowly turning around, suspended by hooks in their skin. It was one of the most beautiful things I’d ever seen. It was powerful beyond measure.

Things didn’t end the way that was intended. Lights went on, crew rushed around with chairs and stools. Lines were cut and the men helped down. Once again we had that well oiled machine. Instructions given quickly and carried out without hesitation. What needed to be done was done and even though it looked like chaos it was so under control. What I saw only added to what I had just seen moments before. It added to how real and raw that kind of performance is. It showed how human those men were. For a long time I didn’t want to speak, I just wanted to watch these people run around and clean up and pack down and do what they had to do. I just wanted to sit there and soak everything in, I didn’t want to ever have to move because I was so afraid of losing that moment.

But it had to end, and I had to go. On the car ride back to His house, He was commenting so much on how well the crew did when things didn’t go to plan. How well the clean up was and this and that and I snapped at Him. I wasn’t dismissing that what He was talking about wasn’t important because it really was. But that’s not why I went to watch, that’s not what that was about and it wasn’t the part I wanted to talk about. I wanted to talk about those three men, hanging by their skin in the centre of the room and how it was the most amazing thing I had ever been able to watch unfold right in front of me.

I realised that He didn’t understand what I saw. No one can really understand what suspensions are to me. What that performance meant to me and how deeply it got under my skin. Everyone has glimpses of it but I think you don’t ever really get it, unless you have done it. Even then, what you see is not what I see.

I wish someone could look inside my head, my heart, my fucking soul and truly understand the magic that I saw in that suspension. It is unlike anything else in the world and I am so glad that I got to see those three men become living art.

Everyone involved – Thank You.

{January 30, 2017}   Phase Two – Branding 2015

Over the weekend I got the second part of my leg piece done. This time it was branding. I asked a lot of questions leading up to the event. I was scared I would go through the same thing that I did with the scarification. I was scared I would lose more of myself and spend the next few months putting myself back together again. All for what? In the name of body art and self acceptance? How can it be that at all when it destroys parts of me in the process?

The branding itself was okay. It was easier to cope with than I expected. Yeah, it hurt like fuck but it wasn’t the same agony of flesh removal. Once the metal was on my skin it felt like fire and pain. But when it was removed again it was simply a warm dull ache. I cried out, I was very vocal as usual but I coped. I managed, I got through it without actually shedding any tears. A last imprint from a dear friend. One last scar of his to bear. For that I am thankful.

And He was there. Holding me, watching me hurt, helping me find strength to see it all finished. He cared for me and looked after me when it was done. Even when I snapped at Him because I found His methods frustrating. Even that night i was moody and angry and He took it in His stride like He always does.

It’s the healing that gets to me. A few days later and it all hits me. I’m exhausted and sore. I can’t have scalding hot showers or piles of blankets on me at night as the heat hurts my leg. It gets irritated and swollen because of my work pants rubbing on it. I can’t bend because my whole body aches due to the tension of muscles during the initial branding. I’ve lost interest in food and getting out of bed and facing the world has become a nightmare. I’d rather be in bed all day, trapped inside my own head, away from everyone.

It’s always the healing afterwards that tears at my very core. It’s now that I question if it was worth the pain or not. It’s now that I begin to hate what I put my body through, time and time again. It’s now that everything falls around me because all my strength is focused on healing the damaged tissue. It’s now that I feel the most alone because this was my choice, I did this to myself, I am to blame for it all. And so I suffer in silence and wait for it to pass.

When I see the scar forming, when the pain is gone and I feel more myself. That’s when this will be the best decision I’ve made. But until the healing is over I will keep sinking. This is the part I hate the most. I can deal with pain, it’s the breaking up inside that comes with healing that I can’t seem to cope with.

What I go through is not easy, none of these things are easy. What gets to me is knowing that the initial cut or burn or whatever, that’s only the first part. This doesn’t end when the design is done, it takes weeks to recover from.

Right now I’m just trying to recover. Once it’s healed I’ll be proud of it, of me. But right now I question my sanity all over again. I had hoped I wouldn’t go through this mental anguish a second time. Here I am again.

Lately it’s felt like everything I have worked hard to keep, has been slowly slipping through my fingers. With every passing day more and more is lost, until I’m grasping at the last pieces. Hoping and praying that this will survive, because already we have faced so much. How could this finally break us? Without trust and connection, there is nothing left though.

I didn’t suspend in order to save a relationship. I suspended in order to save myself. Out of all of this mess, I have been breaking apart. Piece by piece I am broken and worn down. Few fragments are left over once the dust had settled. I suspend in order to find myself. To find that part inside of me that makes me so unlike anyone else around. My need to survive, to pull the broken parts back in and force them back into place. To take a stand and fight my way back, clawing and choking through darkness until I can breathe again. It’s my strength that has always set me apart from the rest because I never know it’s there until I need it the most. When I use it in order to keep myself alive when the thought of existing causes physical pain. I will never give up, not even when it feels like the best option. I do everything to survive and that makes me powerful.

At one of my suspensions, my mum watched. After I got back on the ground she hugged me crying. She told me to never say that I can’t do something because if I can do that, I can do anything. I can beat my depression. It’s a moment that has stayed with me ever since. And so in a way I have used suspensions as a way to heal myself when I don’t know how to find that strength. It shows me that I am powerful and that I can face anything, even when it hurts like hell. Through suspension I have gained confidence and determination. It makes me find that part inside to keep surviving when I feel so lost. Lately I have been very lost and I desperately needed to find myself again.

I wanted something that I knew I could do. I picked a style I have done a few times already. After my chest I needed something that I could walk into the hall, and have complete confidence that I would fly. I never doubted myself. I was ready days before it even happened. Even at the hall I didn’t get nervous until the first hooks where being put in and by that time there was no way I would even consider backing out. They hurt more than I remembered they would. Fear set in then. If i didn’t manage to get off the ground I don’t know how I would have handled it. I needed this so badly that I had so much riding on it. Not to mention the fact that I had finally managed to get my friend to the hall so he could watch. Something I’ve been trying to do for a long time because I know how much my friend wants to do it. I have to get off the ground, I have to fix me.

Getting off the ground wasn’t hard. I was so ready for it that it didn’t take nearly as long as it normally does. I needed His help to balance, I needed Him to silently push me to keep trying. In those moments I needed Him more than I have ever needed Him. He helped me walk and I settled into the music. I smiled a lot because I was happy. I was happy to be in this moment, feeling the sensations of the hooks, hearing the music and feeling His hands warm in mine. Soon it was lift off, my feet left the ground and there was only us. Me fighting to stay in control and ride out the waves, Him holding me and keeping me centred. There is only us in this moment.

Push me. Let me feel free. Let me feel everything wash away, wash clean. Let me rebuild myself. Becoming stronger with every swing and push. Let me find myself again after feeling so lost for so long. I swing and move and flex my body and sing to my music because there is no one left at all. I see faces and I laugh and I love this feeling and I never want it to end. I move around with my eyes closed and feel air rush past me. There is no better feeling than flying.

Slow down. I went so fast so quickly and now I just want to float above the ground. He holds me and I tell myself to wait until the song ends before coming down. Just float here with Him for a little while. Right now nothing else matters. This is us, how we should be. Finally starting to mend and connect and trust. This was never done to fix us but in a way it has. Now He sees all of me, now He watchs as I rebuild. Now He shares a sacred part of me and even if He doesn’t get it and its not His thing. He knows it changes me into a better me. The me He fell for at the beginning. Now I am myself again. I don’t know why it worked but it did. Without a connection what’s the point to it all? We had been losing ours, fearing for the worst. Now it is stronger than before, harder to break. We won’t break.

I touch the ground and He holds me up. I cry because I am the happiest I have been in such a long time. I don’t want to let Him go, I don’t want this moment to end. I’m scared that once it’s gone it won’t come back. That I imagined it all and everything is still so broken. It’s not though, we really are going to be okay.

Suspensions are about love.

{January 30, 2017}   Love Is – 2015

Love is helping me to stand, when my body wants to give way but mind is not ready to quit.
Love is telling me that this will be finished, even if I have to be strapped down to do so.
Love is spending an hour cleaning and dressing my wound, being ultra careful not to hurt me more than needed.
Love is getting up early on her day off and driving me to work.
Love is cuddles in bed after patiently waiting for days so that I wasn’t so sore.
Love is driving two hours to come to my rescue because I wasn’t coping. I wasn’t okay and he could tell it just from my voice.
Love is days in bed being looked after when I needed it most and had no strength left for myself.

Love is words unspoken but heard all the same.
Love is mine.

How I was this time last week, is very different to how I am today. I’m not out of this and won’t be for a while. But I am a lot better.

I didn’t expect I would hardly be able to walk. I didn’t expect I wouldn’t be able to drive or go to work. I didn’t expect to not be able to come home and sleep in my own room, due to not being able to get up stairs. I certainly didn’t expect that I would turn around and hate myself for doing this. Today I am walking almost completely normal again and there is a lot less pain with movement. It still hurts, sleeping is hard to do and I get exhausted easily. My body is putting all of its energy into healing, even more so with the beginning signs of infection and the need for antibiotics. Now even the good guys are getting knocked down in order to stop things from going bad. Its all part of it though.

I know I’m healing. I feel it with my movement, with how I sleep and when I stretch. I’m healing inside as well. I don’t hate myself as much as I did, though I still don’t love myself for doing this. This was difficult for me. I thought I would see the images and be amazed with myself. Part of me is still disgusted though. I thought I would find it beautiful, because its something I have found beautiful for such a long time. I saw my mum the other day, she told me that she wasn’t surprised when she found out I did it. I had been talking about it for years and it was just a matter of time. If anything, she was surprised it had taken this long to happen. This was something I was always going to do and I never questioned my need for having it done.

But having it done has been harder than I ever expected it to be. The moment I started I regretted it. I hated that I was putting my body through such hell in the name of art. I don’t regret it now. I am happy that I endured something that I still don’t understand how I managed to endure in the first place. It was unlike anything I have ever done and I don’t think I will ever understand how I actually got through it. It felt like I was doing it to hurt myself, that it was harm and mutilation and not help. It scared me.

It was help though. It was my own personal rite of passage. It was the next step in my journey of becoming the person I want to be. I had to hurt in order to see my strength and I had to hate in order to see how much I love. I’m still finding it difficult to get through all of the emotions that it brought up. It brought things up for me that I never realised even bothered me. The emotional rollarcoaster that this one thing has caused, has been the hardest part of all of it to deal with. Wounds heal, but heads are harder to fix. For the first four or five days, I didn’t think my head would get fixed from this. I thought I had seriously fucked myself up.

I didn’t. I’m okay. I’m getting better inside as the outside heals too. But I still feel fragile. Like a gust of wind will blow me over. The wrong thing said will tip me back into darkness. I used so much strength to get through it, that now I have none left to keep my emotions in check. Day by day I get better.

But this was mine. This was my moment. This was my ritual. My rite of passage. This was what I needed. It happened how and when it was meant to happen. For my 21st I suspended, after saying for the 6 years leading up to it, that that is exactly what I was going to do. I never questioned my need to suspend and my need to do it to mark turning 21. A number I never thought I would ever each. And now I turn 25 and in celebration of that I have the only name other than my real one, that fits me perfectly and I have it with me always now. This wasn’t about my birthday, it was about reaching a place I never thought I could get to.

I am perfectly imperfect.
I am pretty imperfection.
This was my ritual.
My rite of passage.
And I look forward to figuring out what the hell I’m going to do next.

{January 30, 2017}   New Territory – 2015

I’ve taken my body into something further than ever before. Its having to heal something unlike anything else. I have gone against my bodys very nature by intentionally removing part of its protective barrier. Its no small thing to go through. Its something that I thought about for a very, very long time before going ahead and doing it. It wasn’t a decision made on a whim, it was thought about and planned. I could have planned it better, yes. I should have had a support person, I should have known I would not be able to drive. I should have thought about the fact that my house has stairs which I can’t get up right now. I should have thought about more time off work. But even with careful planning, not everything turns out the way I want, it turns out the way it should. I learnt lessons from the way this turned out, I learnt lessons about myself.

I can go through hell and I can do it standing alone. I can hurt in unimaginable ways and even if I feel like my own mind is crashing in around me, I still keep going. I was surrounded by people who love me and support me, this was done out of love. It felt like I was doing it alone because the people who were part of it had jobs to do, I didn’t have that one person whose job was making sure I held my shit together. That is something I should have planned for but doing it myself showed me that I can do this myself. At the end of the day when it feels like I am breaking apart, I can still find that hidden strength inside me that makes me keep going. It helps to have people around me, but at the end of the day I only have myself.

This happened the way I needed it to. I needed to fall so far and so hard the next day because I had been strong for near on three hours, and it took its toll. I never expected my mind to turn against me, because I have never done anything like this before. There is no going back from this. Once its done, you can’t change it. You can’t put the skin back, you are left with a scar for the rest of your life. This is with me always now. It wasn’t the permanence that bothered me though. I knew it was permanent and had accounted for that. It was the brutality of what I had just done which bothered me.

I know about the skin. I know about the human body and how it heals. I know the physical but the mental was something I never accounted for. I never thought I would question my reasons for doing it. I never thought I would question my own sanity for getting something like this done. This isn’t a small thing to do and go through. Its so much bigger and harder than I expected it to be. This is unlike any other mod and its not for people who don’t understand the magnitude of what this actually means. I intentionally caused a huge open wound on my leg. I took away flesh in order to cause a scar. I damaged my body on purpose so that I could force it to heal in a way which would be pleasing to me. I can’t walk properly, I have to constantly take pain killers in order to get through the day. All I do is sleep and eat and even that is hard to do at times. Getting it done seems to be the easier part of all of it now that I am starting to heal and getting it done was not easy! This is a whole new journey for me and only now am I starting to see any of the positives in it.

I didn’t do this because I’m a hard player. I didn’t do this to fit in to a group. I did this because I have always wanted it done. I did this because I like changing myself to better fit myself. I did this because it is more a part of me than leaving that patch of skin bare. I did it because I had to do it. I needed it done.

I did it because this is me. I did it because I love myself and I don’t try to hide who I am. I did this out of love, and it was done to me out of love.

Thank you for taking me on another new journey, entering into new territory and reminding me how loved I am.

et cetera