Suspension is the art of hanging one’s body off the ground, using hooks embedded into the skin. The practice seems to have started with Native American tribes, some of which continue to do this today as part of the “Vision Quest” or othert rituals. Amber Sutton is a modern day suspensionist and shares the story of her first time suspending below. -Tara Overzat
An Experience I Will Never Forget
By Amber Sutton
An experience I will never forget, the hooks I was soo worried about, were nothing. Getting off the ground was tough for the first time. I cried a little because, this was the moment I had wanted so bad and it was finally happening, I was finally pushing myself beyond my own control. I kept rocking forwards and backwards adding a little more tension each time. Until I was like “just pull me up cuz I’m not going to be able to leave the ground on my own.” I was almost too tall for the rig and could still touch the tip of my big toe to the ground.
Rikki reminded me that all that was holding me back was my big toe. And on
one final movement back Joe hoisted the last inch or so into the air. I had to concentrate on my breathing and allow myself to sink into the hooks.
Closing my eyes and listening to my internal mother’s voice, I heard “my body is totally relaxed” and I began using my own momentum to swing myself, like on a swing as a kid. I only lasted 15 minutes, but it felt like so much more. I did it!!
Then coming down sucked, once my feet were on the ground again I felt almost calm. Then the pressure was released off the hooks. Mega intense pain shot through my shoulders for a sec, and then I was free (for the first time).My arms floated up to the air, and I felt like the marshmallow man, I could physically feel my aura, it was so cool. After laughing joking and munching on some cheezits, I decided to go up again. The second time I was more confident but Joe asked if he could coach me. I was like “sure” and then realized why.
At this point my endorphins were all gone and it was just ME. Joe pushed me backward off of the ground a couple of times and then Luci pulled the rope. I was up again for the second time. This time I was more relaxed and was able to enjoy the experience. Every once in a while I would have to concentrate and let myself sink into the hooks.
Once I was up I found myself getting bored and wanting to feel relatively normal. I asked for my cheezits, and began munching away. I asked for my soda and once it was handed to me, I was like “how am I going to drink this without spilling it?” ah ha “you got a straw?” so here I was hanging, eating and drinking my favorite orange nutrients. Then someone texted me and my phone became a source of amusement. I still got a little bored after so much time up and I decided to make an origami frog, with a baby frog. After about 45-60 minutes or so, my back was achy and my arms and legs were sore. That time I felt like amazing with my Aura so beaming, I couldn’t get my arms anywhere near my body.
The 3rd time, I only hung for maybe 20min, cuz the pressure was pretty intense. Got bored again and came down and called it quits. Joe is an amazing piercer and didn’t do jack didly to my tat, just made it look more complete.
Mega extra special thanks to Joe Amato of SMS, Rikki, and Luci, for being patient with me. And I of course can’t forget my photographer Brian. Lmao love u honey.