The semicolon is a convenient kind of punctuation. This combination of a period and a comma is used when the writer could have finished one sentence and started another but chose not to. They link two seemingly separate ideas into one. It is a way of saying “It could have ended here, but I choose for it not to. I would rather the story went on.”
With such usefulness in written language, you’d be forgiven for wondering what it could possibly mean as a tattoo. If you’ve been observant enough you’ll have noticed all the tattoo parlors offering semicolon tattoos for women and the growing trend of women sporting these tattoos in various parts of their bodies, from the napes of their necks to their ankles. What does it all mean? When and how did this trend start?
The Semicolon Tattoo – Where It Began
The story of the semicolon tattoo began with one woman’s brave way of dealing with a deep loss. Amy Bleuel lost her father to suicide in 2013. He had been battling with depression before the suicide and so had she. It was understandably a great loss and most people would just have caved in.
It is one thing to lose someone close to suicide due to a mental illness. It’s a whole other thing when you’re suffering from depression yourself. And yet Amy decided not to let that be the end for her. She could have chosen to end everything there and then, but decided instead to continue. What should have been a period turned into a semicolon and life went on. That was the birth of Project Semicolon.
The Rise in Popularity of Semicolon Tattoos for Women
Amy Bleuel’s tattoo spread to other women. Semicolon tattoos began spreading and are now a symbol of hope to women as well as men everywhere. Project Semicolon started as a social media campaign that was dedicated to giving people hope and encouragement that there was a light at the end of the tunnel. It was especially directed at people suffering from mental illness, addiction, depression, and self-injury.
They originally had a day of the year when people would draw a semicolon on their body and showcase it via a photograph. It quickly caught on, however, and drawing naturally evolved into tattoos.
Eventually, the project became part of a greater effort to help people suffering from a mental illness directly or indirectly. Millions of Americans suffer from mental illness, and yet the subject is still considered taboo. It’s very easy to talk about other kinds of illnesses in public, to friends, on TV… People have no qualms talking about sexually transmitted infections on reality TV. Mental illness, however, remains a silent killer that people would rather not mention at all.
The semicolon tattoo acts as a convenient starting point. You see it on someone’s body and you become naturally curious about why they got it. What was their motivation? This will make you ask about it and the conversation will start there. It’s much easier to open up about one’s struggles as part of a casual explanation about the motivations for getting a tattoo.
The semicolon isn’t just about mental illness, however. It has evolved in the 4 years since the trend began into something much greater and more powerful. It is now a statement of continuation from whatever one has faced in the past. It says: I know I might be going through hell; I’ll keep going to the very end and emerge victorious.
Best Examples of Semicolon Tattoos for Women
This tattoo depicts a single semicolon tattoo on the nape. The tattoo is imprinted in plain black. Given the use of a semicolon as punctuation, this signifies a link to two independent human parts; the head and the body.
This tattoo illustrates a heart pendant. A golden key is tied to the pendant by a purple ribbon. The heart is filled with red ink with a black semicolon inscribed inside. The semicolon is imprinted in between two stems of flowers.
This tattoo on the wrist shows a word warrior underlined by an arrow below. The term warrior is colorless as well as the arrow. A semicolon is symbolically used instead of a letter “I” in the warrior. The semicolon is highlighted as this is imprinted in black and the rest are colorless.
This tattoo shows a picture of an infinity symbol tattooed on the wrist. The infinity symbol is imprinted in black. A semicolon then is added at the center. The dot is placed on the top and the comma underneath where the infinity symbol intertwined. The semicolon is marked in blue green.
This is one of the semicolon tattoo ideas that convey the symbol’s meaning. The semicolon is imprinted on the wrist in plain black ink. It is big enough for the quote “My story isn’t over” to be printed on the right alongside it. All the imprints are in plain black.
The tattoo depicts a meaningful semicolon imprinted in plain black on the wrist. It is emphasizing tattooed inside a colorful watermark. The background colors came in an ombre of several colors such as red, blue, green, yellow green, orange and yellow.
This tattoo shows a three broad strings or lines braced on the wrist. The top string/line is cut in the middle by a period and the bottom line is disconnected in the middle by a semicolon. This tattoo is all imprinted in plain black ink.
This tattoo sends out a very meaningful message. A black semicolon is imprinted at the center. Behind it is a splash of bluish gray ink. At the top of the symbol, the words “And so” is imprinted in black. Similarly, the terms “I kept living” is imprinted below the semicolon. The words are all in plain black.
This picture shows a tattoo of a semicolon imprinted on the arm. The semicolon tattoo design is followed by the deep yet meaningful phrase “this too shall pass” alongside it. All of these prints are tattooed in plain black ink.