If you’d asked author Kurt Vonnegut what a semicolon was, he probably would have told you that it’s an unnecessary punctuation mark that has little to no value and only really shows that you paid attention during English class at high school.
To a new online community, though, the definition of a semicolon is quite different. It’s poetic and unifying and even links people through their shared experiences and difficulties with mental health.
How? Well, a semicolon is used in a sentence to signify a divide. The sentence could have been finished at the semicolon, but the author has chosen to continue the sentence instead of finishing it.
The same can be said of life. We have a choice. We can end our story — or we can chose to go on.
And, now, people are seeing the power of the humble punctuation mark and getting it tattooed on their bodies as a way of representing how they, too, decided to carry on — that despite their struggles in life, they also choose to continue, because they are the authors of their lives.
It all began with Project Semicolon, which is a “faith-based non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and love to those who are struggling with depression, suicide, addiction and self-injury”.
Inspired by what the semicolon represents, people are sharing their incredible life experiences and personal stories along with images of their semicolon tattoos. Here are just some of the inspiring reasons people are choosing to get semicolons tattooed on their bodies:
1. Project Semicolon founder, Amy Bleuel, got a semicolon tattoo to honour her father, who took his own life when Amy was just 18 years old
2. Sometimes our most difficult moments make us stronger and more capable of dealing with what life throws at us
3. Mental health issues affect many people, and talking about our experiences is the first step to breaking down the stigma associated with it
4. We may feel lonely, but we are not alone. We are part of a larger community that can help and support us
5. Beauty can come from darkness and difficulty
6. People and organisations are there to offer support and help when we need it most
7. How we march on, despite our difficulties, shows our strength and willingness to grow
8. It’s always worth remembering that this, too, shall pass
9. It’s time to break the stigma and raise awareness about mental illness
10. Never be afraid to ask for help
Have you joined Project Semicolon? Share your photos with us on Twitter. If you or someone you know needs support with anxiety or depression, contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36.