Being born on a holiday, I’ve gotten out of the habit of doing special things for the occasion. Despite the fact that I was due on the 31st of October, I made my appearance (under protest to hear Mom tell it) on November 2nd. Still very much a full-on Scorpio, and still on the auspicious day known to many Mexican folks and celebrated as Día de los Muertos or Día de los Difuntos (“Day of the Dead”). As a child, Halloween parties and my birthday parties tended to be one and the same, which I loved as everyone was usually in a great costume. But the years have been enough now that with performing throughout the month, usually all of October to the 31st, I’ve just kind of given up, no longer having the energy to do anything close to the date.
This year was an exception and with a full month in October that saw me do everything from tour with my new circus collective, The Caravan Of Creeps, to travel to Toronto for Fangoria’s Horror-Rama, witness a world record be broken, and then up to Whistler to participate in the Heavy Hitting Horrorfest, it was on point for production. It was not, however, the franticness of pace that it had been in years prior. I attribute that to my wonderful partner, Burns The Dragon, since the whole shebang was a grand adventure rather than a haphazard happening. He is, as I am, a firm believer in having all kinds of experiences.
He has been well aware of my keen interest in body modifications since before we started seeing each other. I had already had tastes that ran to the extreme (like being deeply interested in Tattoo Savage back in 1996, and beyond) but that given my choice of career as an actress I was severely limited to any work I could have done on myself. I won’t lie, seeing folk’s split tongues, tipped ears and so on, I had – and still have – a serious case of bod mod FOMO. Burns had a solution to offer that would satisfy that need for myself as well as leave me relatively unmarked. He generously arranged for me to have my first suspension.
There is a beautiful symmetry to all of this, as it was a unique experience for me, I wanted someone I could trust to do the work. Russ Foxx has been responsible for all of Burns’ modifications and had done his previous suspensions. It doesn’t hurt either, that his studio and where it would occur, is close to both of our houses. A fun fact for those that don’t know the intersecting of our lives, but Russ was also the flesh artist consultant for American Mary and also portrayed ‘Penis Guy’ in the film. It was because of this I thought that he wouldn’t mind if I invited Jen and Sylvia to witness the event. I also wanted a visual record of it as well, and knowing that David Denofreo and his wife Tracey, who I’ve shot with many times, would not be weirded out by the proceedings and take beautiful photos. On all accounts, I wasn’t wrong.
I’ll be honest, I did dither as to whether to make it an open event, like Burns’ record-breaking tattoo, or whether to keep it just us. Back and forth I went in my head before finally sending a message out to a select few. There are a number of milestones one hits in their lives: getting married, having their first baby, going to their kid’s college graduation, etc. I’m not really what you would call the marrying kind, and children are not in the cards for me. However, I have always received invitations to baby and wedding showers and felt awkward about these events, as I never felt like it was a milestone I could understand since I thought that I wouldn’t have an equally life-changing moment to compare it to in my own where I could reciprocate. However, most of my inner circle politely declined, so our party number was on the lower end of things.
The piercing was perhaps the most intense part of the proceedings for me. I’m no stranger to piercing, having had played to a host of a number of them in my life. I still might add some secret ones yet before I shuffle off of this mortal coil. But beyond that, the rest was just about breaking through the limitations of my own mind. While most of my friends who have had some form of trauma in their lives will have had spiritual cleansing by either Shaman, Church, or Ayahuasca, this was my therapy of choice. 2015, and the time leading up to it had been very difficult for me on a personal level, and I wanted to experience something similar in release. The two-point suspension gave me that release.
I’m no stranger to having my feet off of the ground. I have done a limited hair-hang suspensions when I performed with the now-defunct Sex At The Circus, but that was a different sensation. I have also begun training on the regular in the arts of aerial hoop and so the concept of ‘fuck gravity’ is one I eagerly embrace. but when my feet left the ground the first, then the second, then the third time, it was different. I was able to let go of a lot of past hurt and just enjoy the sensation of flying. It was one of the most beautiful and transformative enlightenments I’ve had. I let go of a lot that I felt held me back, and in those times my feet came up, I had a strange serenity and joy course through my body. Some may argue what I felt was an endorphin rush, and that may have been on a physical front, but deeper I felt like I had left those emotional restrictions behind me.
The rest of the evening was a blur. Burns and I went to see out extended performer family in their Tim Burton inspired production The Nightmare Before Nutcracker at the Rio Theatre, which was on our walk home. I had a permanent Mona Lisa smile, invisible in the darkened theatre to everyone except my dragon. In a haze once we returned home, I pulled on a t-shirt for bed, backwards. I was, as Russ put it, a ‘bleeder’ and some of my vitae did leak out in the night onto the shirt. I took it off the next day to see the front of the shirt that stated ‘Always be a unicorn’ with four symmetrical bloody marks from my sleep the night before. I couldn’t have really found a more adequate sentiment to the whole affair.
All photos taken by Dark Cell Photography
All piercing and suspension work by Russ Foxx
Little Miss Risk