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The Powerful Story Behind Every Semicolon Tattoo Meaning

The semicolon tattoo, more than mere body art, symbolizes a powerful narrative of resilience and perseverance. In this article, we will explore how this simple grammatical symbol emerged as a poignant metaphor for mental health awareness. We will examine the semicolon tattoo’s meaning, trace its origins, and see how it represents a commitment to life and hope in adversity.

Feature Semicolon Tattoo Meaning

The Origin of the Semicolon Tattoo Meaning

The origin of the semicolon tattoo is closely tied to a movement called “Project Semicolon.” It was in the spring of 2013 that Amy Bleuel founded Project Semicolon as a tribute to her father, whom she lost to suicide. It started as a social media initiative for individuals struggling with mental illness, suicide, addiction, and self-injury. People were encouraged to draw a semicolon on their wrist and share a photo. The semicolon was chosen as a symbol of continuation. It originally represented the idea that the author of a sentence could have ended it but chose to continue. Now, the semicolon tattoo symbolizes the decision to continue life despite a near death. It is also a symbol of courage to continue their lives in the face of difficulties, especially mental health problems.

Project Semicolon official logo
Project Semicolon official logo

The movement became prominent in early July 2015 when people started uploading photos of semicolon tattoos on social media. This act gained attention from mainstream news outlets and further propelled the movement’s visibility. A book titled “Project Semicolon: Your Story Isn’t Over” was released in September 2017, compiling stories and photos shared within the Project Semicolon community.

Sadly, Amy Bleuel, the founder of Project Semicolon, passed away by suicide on March 23, 2017, at the age of 31. Her legacy continues through the ongoing efforts of Project Semicolon to support those facing mental health challenges.

My journey with the semicolon tattoo started in my late teens. I was always the shy kid in class, struggling to fit in. College brought more challenges; I felt overwhelmed and isolated. Depression crept in quietly.

It was during my lowest point, after a particularly hard week, that I stumbled upon the story of Project Semicolon. That night, lying awake, I made a decision. I needed a symbol, a daily reminder of my resilience. The next day, I walked into a tattoo parlor. As the semicolon was inked onto my wrist, I felt a sense of release. It was my vow to keep fighting, to acknowledge my struggles but also my strength to continue.

Mr. Ethan,

a man who would like to share his story about the semicolon tattoo with us

"13 Reasons Why"

In 2017, “13 Reasons Why,” a Netflix series exploring teen suicide, was released. To commemorate the show’s premiere, the co-executive producer Selena Gomez and cast members got semicolon tattoos altogether. Their act was a nod to Project Semicolon’s mission and semicolon tattoo meaning, linking the series’ focus on the complexities of mental health and suicide prevention.

Selena Gomez's Instagram
Selena Gomez's Instagram

“13 Reasons Why” centers on the aftermath of a high school student’s suicide, exploring themes such as bullying, sexual assault, and mental health. The series has been both praised and criticized. Critics argue that this series could potentially trigger vulnerable viewers and may not adequately address the complexities of mental health issues. However, advocates appreciate its candid exploration of difficult topics, hoping it would encourage open conversations about mental health and suicide prevention.

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