Gravity- Shibaricon 2011

This is the first of a number of posts covering the shared adventures at Shibaricon 2011. Please be patient as there is so much to go through. Shibaricon was catharsic to say at least, and processing it all will take quite some time.  

We are defined by gravity, and yet, somehow I am defying it. I’m moving through the air, and it feels like there is nothing that I would not be able to do, despite the fact that I am tied. The ropes around my ankle, foot and leg are straining the muscles while still supporting them, holding me up, enabling this upside down adventure.  I’m not a sack of potatoes, this is not a comfortable hammock, this is a strong body in action, and the man who has facilitated this is Dommy Darko. We have both flown over the very big pond to visit Shibaricon 2011, and strangely enough, it took a trip to the US for us to finally meet, even though he is based in Ireland and I’m in the UK. The previous evening, he had approached me for play, and we had tons and tons of fun  him beating and pinching and hurting me while I was partially suspended by the leg. We made an attempt to suspend from it then, but decided to give it a go the day after, with some slight modifications.

The day after we sat and pondered on the the ankle tie, it became so much part of it to figure out what was needed to be done. Two ropegeeks in action, both driven by intense curiousity and a will to make things work, in some way or another.  we discussed some more, prodded around, he tied, some more modifications with carabiners and the suspension point, a first attempt, going ok, but again, it needed some modifications.  I had early on a feeling that this might turn into something perfect, but as I know my body is somewhat fickle sometimes, I ask Dommy we could have a spotter, just for the sake for both of us. Bus Driver kindly agrees to help out with this, and with all of this prep and four capable hands around me it becomes easy to focus on the task at hand, which is the intense experience unfolding. I become more and more acutely aware of  every part of my body, as the pressure increases,  feeling muscles, movement, and it is an experience which demands this awareness. I’m lying down on the floor, face up, under the suspension-ring, then I feel Dommy pull, then another pull and I’m moving upwards, foot first. Core muscles, not tensing, just working. And then I’m up, above the ground, only supported by rope. There is a simple purity in this, no other limbs tied, no other mod cons to ‘help’. Just rope, incredibly capable hands and trust. And will. I am in an inverted single ankle suspension. Hanging up side down, from one ankle only. The thrill is immense. It is not charachterised by a sense of helplessness,but just sheer and utter strength.

While up, I start moving. My arms, my leg, my back, slowly first, testing what can be done, where I can go, how I can go there. And it is here that my body is different, it is here that I am not limited, there is movement here that feels so natural, so full of life & joy. Dommy keeps on working, I keep on moving, trying to not be in his way, but I just want to try every angle, every single little thing that can be done or cannot be done. The time is limited, and as mentioned: it is not a comfortable hammock suspension (nothing wrong with those!); but one in which I want to make the most out of the time I have.  And both of us keep on working, working hard.

If you are new to rope, depending on what you want to do, you need to know that you might have to think like an athlete. Now, that might sound a bit rich, coming from me, since I am not the best person on taking care of myself. My muscles and general physical state is not in the best of shapes, and god knows I have a lot of work to do after sitting on my ass for three years finishing my degree. But, to be honest, a year ago was the first time I could properly get myself tied into a box-tie, and other parts of my body is finally starting to agree with me. Furthermore; I finally want to be nice to myself. Do you have any idea of how hard it is to stop guilt-tripping yourself? Hating yourself for what it feels like you are instead of celebrating what you are on your way on becoming? Rope helps me with this, sooths and strengthens, pushes and forces me to feel, to acknowledge this body which I so often tries to disconnect from. And this inverted single ankle suspension did exactly this.

Back to hanging up side down. A couple of minutes pass, can’t really tell how many, just that it gets clearer to me that body is getting more and more tired. I am running a marathon I have never run before, and sooner or later, I will have to call it a day. Signalling to Dommy and Bus that I will need support and come down in a all to close future. My body is tired now, but in that way which releases tons of endorphins and adrenaline. When Bus allows me to rest in his arms while Dommy is slowly lowering me to the floor, I feel strangely giggly, smiley, sweating, safe. Warm strong arms, bonds of trust, bodies; defined by gravity. Defiance; born out of necessity.


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