Cutter

Cutter: (n) a person who repeatedly inflicts self-injury by cutting the skin, as to cope with negative emotions.

Her mother told me that Denise was “a cutter.”

Mother asked me if I knew what that meant. I did.

But it didn’t deter her from continuing to explain—vividly—the numerous times that knife went to flesh, carving out a hideous landscape of despair.

She tried to explain the diagnosis and the opinions the psychiatrist had for the source of the grief felt by Denice.

I listened. Well, no. I actually didn’t.

I was polite.

The reason I didn’t give much heed to the conversation was that I have learned a valuable lesson:

The power of “I don’t.”

  • I don’t know what I’m doing.
  • I don’t understand, even though I’ve been educated.
  • I don’t have the power to save people.
  • I don’t have sure-fire solutions to motivate change.

I don’t know what to do to stop a lovely young girl from defacing the beauty of her earthly canvas.

She likes to cut herself. She says it relieves tension and guilt.

It gives her a sense of temporary redemption from the screaming demons in her soul.

I don’t have the cosmic energy to take this damaged child of God and lift her out of her anguish.

What I have is “I do.”

I do have the possibility of screwing her up even further.

So I sat down and talked to her for about five minutes—mainly about myself. She even seemed somewhat interested. She was perplexed—because I’m sure she thought I was just another “healer” who had come to try to rescue her from herself.

I wasn’t.

You see, I do care. But I don’t have miracles.

I do love Denice as my fellow-traveler. But I don’t have magical potions or mysterious words to break the spell.

Sometimes it’s just good to know how limited we are so we can avoid the need to prove a point, and instead, emotionally embrace those who are hurting and hope—yes, hope—that some of the virtue of affection transfuses.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

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