The Semicolon Tattoo

What is a semicolon tattoo?

Yes, these tattoos are SMALL, but the meaning of semicolon tattoos are huge…

In writing, the semicolon separates two thoughts but indicates they share something in common. Everyday individuals that don’t write often might never use the semicolon. It’s becoming one of the most popular tattoos in the country right now, though. Tattoo artists continue to draw small semicolons onto thousands of eager customers’ bodies.

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But why? What does a semicolon tattoo mean?

Amy Bleuel fought against mental illness and depression throughout her life.

In fact, she lost her father to suicide some time ago.

That spurred Bleuel to create Project Semicolon in 2013. The project started as a way of honoring her father, and now it symbolizes hope for a countless number of people.

Project Semicolon’s website makes a simple statement on this punctuation mark.

The semicolon tattoo meaningIt states that the optional semicolon continues a sentence rather than ending one like an abrupt period.

Therefore, each human being is the author that chooses to keep the sentence (life) going on. Many individuals struggling with depression, self-harm and other ailments can embrace the semicolon.

They can relate to the sentence-ending (life-ending) period, too.

A Message From Project Semicolon

Based in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Project Semicolon attempts to tell each person that the story isn’t over.

It’s a faith-based nonprofit that encourages each person to keep battling depression, self-harm and other issues.

semicolon tattoo meaning self harm

The semicolon originally represented its founder’s father. Since then, it has grown to represent millions of people that want to share their stories and continue them until the proper ending is written.

Project Semicolon is all about inspiration.

Tattooing businesses across the country have reported an increase in semicolon tattoo requests. Such awareness has helped Project Semicolon increase the visibility of its cause and plight.

Jazymn Case works at the popular 717 Tattoo and Body Piercing business. It’s based in Harrisburg, and she’s performed over 10 semicolon tattoo designs recently. She notes that people do it for themselves and others that they know.

Similarly, J.D. Brosius from Never Say Die Tattoo and Body Piercing has performed almost 20 such tattoos. That parlor is located in Harrisburg as well. A similar story is playing out for tattoo artists around the United States.

The owner of Red Beard Ink, Robert Treat, notes that six semicolon tattoos have been inked in the past week. In an interview, he mentioned a couple that tattooed the semicolon and the date of their first meeting on themselves.

Treat notes that he never asks what the story is behind the tattoo, but he can often make inferences nonetheless.

Mental Illness: A Growing Problem In America

As mental illness rates continue to rise, the issue remains a mostly invisible one.

semicolon depression

Everyone seems to talk about all other issues, except for mental health. An American takes his or her own life every 13 minutes nowadays. In a single year, that tally reaches a cumulative 40,000 Americans. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention notes that most suicide victims suffered from diagnosable disorders.

Suicide is even the 10th most common cause of death in the country.

Even though such a preventable cause of death should be fought against, we remain silent on the problem. Issues like STDs and even homicide are commonplace on television. For whatever reason, mental health topics seem to bring out the pitchforks for the whistleblower on such problems.

An invisible problem can only worsen, and that’s going to be the case for depression, self-harm, suicide, and other mental health topics.

A Problem That Receives Lackluster Support and Care

Unfortunately, men and women battle depression for their entire lives.

It never disappears completely because a resurgence can occur without warning. This can happen every couple days or every few years. One day a person feels incredible, and then they feel terrible the next day.

amy bleuel

Few individuals that suffer from mental health problems seek medical attention. In the beginning, they don’t want others to see them struggle. An admission of a problem makes people feel weak.

After dealing with the issue long enough, help simply seems impossible.

Heather Parrie received a semicolon tattoo to support Project Semicolon. She wasn’t supporting a friend or family member, though. To the contrary, she did it for herself after publicly revealing a diagnosis for depression and anxiety. Parrie is a blogger that resides in Kansas City, Missouri.

She blogged about the experience on her website. What does a semicolon tattoo cost? For $60, she let a stranger with a Jesus tattoo adorning his head ink a semicolon onto her wrist. Parrie plans to keep the mark there until her last breath.

The semicolon tattoo is a promise to herself.

To Parrie, that promise is that she’ll never put the period after her sentence by choice.

Parrie mentions that the stigma associated with mental illness is still strong. Her goal is to bring up a major conversation about mental health in the country.

After feeling stigmatized, she now wants people to realize something about mental health problems.

Individuals don’t have to feel like failures or feel like they’re receiving pity.

She wants people to see the semicolon on her wrist and know that they’ll be OK at some point in the future. When people see the tattoo on others, they can realize that they’re sick but not alone or crazy. The story can always go on as the author keeps on writing.

Just added: My review of the CES Ultra >>.

Write to me about anything related to a semicolon tattoo, mental health or the project semicolon, you can find me here, Kattalin.

5 Responses to The Semicolon Tattoo

  1. Marianita May 21, 2016 at 5:10 pm #

    Thank you!!!

  2. Karen June 3, 2016 at 10:36 am #

    Myself, a daughter and 2 Granddaugters will all be getting the same tattoo; will be encouraging others in our family to do the same.

  3. Heahter June 27, 2016 at 1:29 pm #

    I got one in honor of my uncle. It’s quite the topic of discussion. 😉

  4. Chris June 30, 2016 at 5:18 pm #

    Do I want just the black wrist piece in a normal font. Or do I enlarge it and set my semicolon in colors on my heart or my shoulder? I want it seen and the meaning known.

  5. Andrea Joy Phoenix August 13, 2016 at 2:30 pm #

    I have struggled with BPD, major depression, episodes of self-mutilation and suicidal ideations for years; along the way, there have been at least a handful of failed attempts at suicide. Ten days ago, I had a larger-than-usual and slightly-altered semicolon tattooed in black on the inside of my left wrist. The upper “part” — for lack of a better word — is in the shape of a heart & about 3/4″ high/wide, and the lower part is slightly smaller. The raised, white-ish scar from my last suicide attempt crosses my wrist diagonally between them. 💔 Traditionally, the upper portion is round but I chose to make it a heart for three reasons: #1 — To keep urging myself to let go of my self-hatred & remind myself to love myself; #2 — To remind myself that I am not alone… there is help… there is hope; and #3 — To remember those I have loved & lost to suicide and remind myself of the unbearable pain and heartbreak I suffered when each of them took their lives… …as well as reminding myself that I promised my loved ones I never would subject them to that same heartache by ending my story too soon. It’s going to be very difficult keeping my promise, but I will because I still have many more chapters to write in the book that is the story of my life.

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