What Does a Semicolon Tattoo Mean: Symbolism and Everything You Need To Know

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Content warning: The following text contains a discussion about suicide and information some readers may find triggering or distressing. We urge you to call your local suicide prevention hotline for help, support, or immediate assistance. Here’s a list of all international suicide prevention hotlines you can contact for emergency assistance or immediate help and counseling.

Tattoos are known to be a rather fun experience and an interesting way to express oneself, whether artistically, creatively, or in any other possible meaning and way. However, tattoos are also known to be rather personal, intimate, as they generally stand for someone’s life experience, things they’ve been through, people they’ve lost, and so much more.

Truth to be told, the majority of people only get tattooed if the ink truly stands for something or honors something that is incredibly meaningful, personal, and unique to you. This way, every tattoo (even with recurring symbols and design) becomes personalized and unique.

Semicolon Tattoo on finger
Saved Tattoo @fineline.tats

So, speaking of highly personal and meaningful tattoos, we couldn’t help but notice an increase in the semicolon tattoo design trend. You may have seen it yourself around social media.

Even famous people, like Selena Gomez, Alisha Boe, and Tommy Dorfman (from the Netflix hit show „13 Reasons Why“), have semicolon tattoos. If you’re wondering what’s the meaning of this tattoo, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In the following paragraphs we’ll explain the symbolism of this tattoo, so let’s get started!

What Does the Semicolon Tattoo Symbolize?

It’s not what you think; a semicolon tattoo doesn’t really stand for the punctuation symbol used to link independent clauses in a sentence or related ideas. However, the idea of something linking ideas and clauses together is incredibly meaningful in the context of the semicolon tattoo. The semicolon simply shows that there is more to come in the sentence or a text; the idea is not done even when the sentence is.

How does this meaning translate into the semicolon tattoo? Here’s how!

Have you ever heard about the Project Semicolon? This is a nonprofit organization focused on and fully dedicated to raising and spreading awareness in regards to mental illness, addiction, self-harm, and suicide.

The Project was established and started in 2013 by Amy Bleuel. She wanted to have a platform where she can inspire and support people going through depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, self-harm, or who have friends and family members going through the same things.

Semicolon Tattoo on hand
Saved Tattoo @heed313

The Semicolon Project is a social media movement, which encouraged people to get a semicolon tattoo as a form of showing off solidarity, one’s personal fight with depression and suicidal thoughts. The semicolon tattoo shows that one is not alone in their struggle and that there is hope and support out there.

The semicolon tattoo should be tattooed on the wrist. People usually take photos of their tattoo, share it on social media, and spread awareness of the Project and what it symbolizes.

So, what led Amy Bleuel to start this Project?

In 2003, Amy’s father died by suicide after facing his own struggles with mental illness. Bleuel, unfortunately, struggled with serious mental illness and tragically died by suicide in 2017. Bleuel started the Project to share love, support, and solidarity, but unfortunately, that wasn’t enough for her; it seems that she couldn’t find the love and help she needed.

Nevertheless, the Project has helped thousands of people out there in their battle against mental illness, and it continues to do so even nowadays. Amy’s idea still lives on and even though she is not here with us anymore, she is still helping spread awareness and save thousands of lives.

Pros and Cons of the Semicolon Tattoo

Many say that the tattoo is an excellent way to remind yourself on a daily basis that you7ve survived the trauma of mental illness, and that you’re doing good. The tattoo is believed to be a permanent motivation and a reminder that you’re a survivor, and that you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself all the time.

The meaning behind the semicolon tattoo is beautiful; it shows that even when you think your life is ending, by adding a semicolon, it is really only continuing.

But, there is also a different side to the story of the semicolon tattoo, and we think it is equally important to write about and share with our readers.

Unfortunately, there are people who thought that getting this tattoo would bring them peace, help others by sharing awareness and solidarity, and generally help them put a full stop to the mental illness and a semicolon to their lives. However, even though the semicolon serves as a reminder that one is fighting and surviving, many think that the tattoo becomes a negative reminder once you start feeling better.

After the trauma of mental illness subsides or passes, what can you do with the tattoo? It no longer serves as a reminder of your battle and survival; it becomes a sort of. Brand of your mental illness and the crisis period of your life.

Although for some people this could still seem inspirational, many have stated that they removed their semicolon tattoo because they wanted a clean slate for a new part of their lives; without any reminders of the struggle and mental illness.

So, Should You Get A Semicolon Tattoo? – Final Thoughts

If you think this tattoo will help you and others deal with mental illness and help spread solidarity, support, and love, then sure, go for it. It is a small tattoo generally placed on the wrist. However, getting a permanent tattoo in order to try to solve such a big issue shouldn’t be the goal. The goal is to work on yourself and nourish your mind and body with love, support, and positivity.

Again, if you need a daily reminder for this, then the semicolon tattoo can work perfectly. But, we do advise and strongly recommend you weigh out the pros and cons of this tattoo carefully before you finally decide to go get it. What helps other people doesn’t mean it will help you the same way. Bear this in mind!

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