When I started noticing semicolon tattoos becoming prevalent within the tattooing community I couldn't help but wonder what the significance of it was. It had to be something much more significant than a movement bucking Kurt Vonnegut's most hated punctuation mark, and it turns out that it is. The Semicolon Project was created to raise awareness for people struggling with depression, anxiety, self-harm, and suicide.
The project encourages people to draw a semicolon on their wrist as a reminder that it is OK to ask for help when struggling with mental health problems. Since the project has begun many people have decided that they want to wear the symbol permanently in the form of a tattoo. The choice of a semicolon may seem arbitrary to everyone but the most studious grammar wizards, but when you break it down it is a very simple and powerful choice.
"A semicolon is used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to," the projects website explains. "The author is you and the sentence is your life."
It really is a very apt metaphor. It acknowledges that a person has gone through times when they felt like they could end it all, but they had the strength to choose to keep going. The proliferation of the semicolon tattoos can be seen as both a positive and a negative. While it is inspiring to see how many people are embracing the project it is also a bit disheartening to see how many people are personally touched by the issue of depression. Bringing the issue of mental health out of the shadows is a key goal of the Semicolon Project and the tattoos are doing just that.
If awareness is raised and even one person is convinced to keep on going thanks to seeing a semicolon tattoo than the project is a success.
Learn more about the Semicolon Project by clicking here and perusing their website. Flip through the gallery below to see some of the semicolon tattoos that have come out of the project.