I had my first public breakdown in college. I became obsessed with cutting. I cut, through two more years of college, five years in corporate offices, and about seven years while in a board and care. Somebody said once that public speakers have to cuss, because cuss words are the only appropriate words that can describe the shit we survive. Cutting for me was a sacrifice, an atonement. It was the only appropriate punishment for allowing myself to live. The alternative was death. Cutting was also creative expression. I spent 14 years as a cutter before someone introduced me to alizarin crimson acrylic paint. And then prussian blue. And then spring green… After 13 years in a good board & care , 30 years of competent depth psychotherapy, 20 years in community college learning graphic design and spoken word, 2 years of dance meditation and a life of independence, I don’t cuss so much. And razors, bottle glass, can lids, and Exacto knives are simply art tools. I was lucky. I lived through it. I survived psychiatry and found my people as a poet and artist. You don’t cut when you have friends with whom you share love.