On August 20, 2005 I went to my first Suscon: the second annual All Grrls suspension convention. Outside of the article I’d written several months earlier about last year’s event and only ever seeing my first suspension eight weeks earlier, I didn’t know what to expect. Through conducting interviews with last year’s attendees and hearing entirely positive feedback, I knew the day would be special.
The event was held in Toronto in a cozy, dimly-lit room with wooden floors and brick walls. The twenty-five attendees had travelled from all over the United States and Canada to be there. Rachel (IAM:tigertante) and Jill (IAM:feisty) were the organizers and wonderful hosts. They, along with the other staff, were competent, knowledgeable and organized.
The absence of men felt somehow natural, but then again, I had nothing to compare it to. The girls who were nervous about being pierced or going up always had someone by their side; some supportive friends went the extra step and laid on the floor below the table while the hooks were being inserted, breathing deeply with them and holding their hands. Everyone was sensitive to the girls’ needs; allowing them to take their time if necessary, never pressuring them into staying up longer than they wanted to or coming down sooner than they were ready to.
When the first article about the All Grrls Suscon was published, it sparked a lot of controversy. Some saw the event as discriminatory towards men, while others saw it as a proactive step towards getting more women involved in the suspension community. Regardless of people’s opinion about this event, no one can deny that it offers a safe and comfortable place for the experienced and inexperienced alike to hang.
The thing that surprised me the most was the overwhelming emotion that hung heavy in the air. Excitement, nervousness, anxiety, intimidation, happiness, relief… although they were mixed feelings, they all felt warm. It was intense.
It may be one of those things where you’d really have to be there in order to appreciate it… but then again, maybe not.
To the tune of Svefn-G-Englar by Sigur Ros is a video of the the day— highlighting the emotions of the girl’s experiences— the thing that had the most impact on me.
2005 All-Grrls SusCon Video Report (9 minutes)
— Gillian Hyde