You know how they say ” don’t judge a book by it’s cover?” The saying should be a philosophical motto embodied by each one of us. While someone could be smiling at you, you have no idea what is actually going on behind that smile. Think of how many times you were struggling inside but had no choice but to step out the door and pretend that everything was okay. Now imagine there was a tattoo that can symbolize this kind of strength, and our ability to keep pushing through even when your whole body is fighting against us.
A simi colon tattoo might seem like a random trend, but there is a serious meaning behind it that has nothing to with grammar.
It’s A Symbol For Mental Health
The thing with mental health is that it’s not always visible. When we fall, we tend to get cut and bruised to show that we’re in pain but when we’re struggling on the inside, it can be easy for that pain to go unnoticed. In fact, the symptoms of mental pain can also send physical pain through the body. That’s why having a tattoo to represent this kind of struggle and highlight the importance of preventing it from getting worse or even taking lives is important.
Project semicolon, from which the tattoos started, was created by a social movement in 2013. The tattoo is meant to represent mental health struggles and suicide prevention. The movement describes itself as “ dedicated to presenting hope and love to those who are struggling with depression, suicide, addiction, and self-injury. Project Semicolon exists to encourage, love, and inspire.”
Why A Semicolon?
If you’re wondering why a semicolon out of all things, it actually isn’t random and has a beautiful meaning behind it: “A semicolon is used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life, ” explains the movement.
The movement started on a small scale and had people drawing a semicolon on their bodies but it quickly grew and people chose to make the drawing permanent as to never lose sight of the message. Now people all over the world are following the trend. Every time they find themselves losing hope in life, all they have to do is look at the permanent mark to be reminded of how far they’ve come and celebrate their survival so far as a victory, and use that to keep pushing forward.
A Conversation That Helps Let Go Of Stigma
The data on mental health statistics shows the number of Americans struggling with mental health is on the rise. In fact, in 2021, 19.00% of adults were found to be experiencing a mental illness. That evens out to be about 47 million Americans. This number has increased since 2012, which reported that 43 million Americans dealt with a mental illness. That’s 4 million people increase! Yet despite the growing number, there is still a stigma surrounding it that prevents people from feeling comfortable talking about it or getting help.
“[The tattoo] is a conversation starter,” explains Jenn, who works for the movement. “People ask what it is and we get to tell them the purpose.” It allows for people who notice the tattoo to feel comfortable talking to one another about it: “I think if you see someone’s tattoo that you’re interested in, that’s fair game to start a conversation with someone you don’t know,” “It provides a great opportunity to talk. Tattoos are interesting — marks we put on our bodies that are important to us.”
A Tattoo For A Good Cause
While anyone could go and get this tattoo anywhere, In 2014, The Semicolon Tattoo Project held an event at several tattoo shops where people could get a semicolon tattoo for a good rate. Then the money that was raised by the tattoos was used to help fund the movement’s crisis center.
This event alone allowed 400 people to get a semi-colon tattoo on their bodies. But since, the word has spread and more and more people all over the world have joined in on the movement. Today the Facebook page has close to 50,000 followers!
It Has Brought People Together
The conversation builds a foundation and it is a great starting point. It allows people of all kinds to come together to break the barriers of stigma. This not only allows them to develop a community of support but to change the narrative surrounding mental health. The world is a difficult place to navigate and it’s easy to get overwhelmed and even lost in it without support and guidance.
Once the conversation is started, then people can actually start finding the tools to get tangible help, whether it’s therapy or workshops.
Watch Out For Semi Colon Tattoos
Remember that you matter, that you’re important, and that there will always be a place for you in this world. Even when you’re in a bad place, you are not alone. Every day that you survive, even if you had to crawl to the end of it, should be celebrated as a win. You are still here, your story is still unwritten and the possibilities and potential for you are endless. All you need is to understand how to tap into it with the right tools and support.
If you’re looking for more information on how to understand yourself better to your core, then you’ll need your own zodiac reading. We’re each on our own unique path and what some struggle with, might not be applicable to you too.
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Higher Perspectives Author is one of the authors writing for Higher Perspectives