Lately there has been an influx of people drawing on or having semicolons tattooed onto their bodies. Although semicolons are typically used in writing, these marks aren’t meant to support grammar or literature – they’re a symbol for hope.
In 2013, Amy Bluel, a Green Bay, Wisconsin resident, lost her father to suicide. Her response to his overwhelming grief was to start Project Semicolon, a non-profit organization that was designed to promote hope and self-confidence in people who are impacted by depression, anxiety, addiction, and suicide.
The promotion of these messages is done by the organization by asking participants to share their marks and stories with the rest of the world. They hope that the sharing of personal stories between individuals on an international scale will open up talks about mental health and mental illness.
The idea of using the semicolon stemmed from their actual use. Authors use periods to end sentences. By using a semicolon instead, the author chose not to end the sentence, but keep its message going. Bluel’s intention was to use that actual use as a metaphor, where the marked person is the author and the sentence represents their life. The person, then, would choose to continue on with their lives, as the semicolon shows that this moment isn’t an end, but a new beginning.