Why I’m Not Joining The Semicolon Movement Yet

The Semicolon Project is helping encourage thousands of people to continue their life, their story, instead of just ending it altogether. It has also begun to shed a much needed light on mental illnesses as well. While I'm not joining the movement today, I am giving it my own spin until I do finally ink myself. If you haven’t heard of the Semicolon Movement, you can read more about it here and here. In my own words, here’s the gist.

When writing, a semicolon is used when a writer could have ended the sentence, but chose to pause, and continue on. The Project’s goal is to help those who struggle with suicide ideation and remind them to keep living, keep telling their story.

It’s also spread into the area of mental illness such as those suffering from depression, anxiety, etc.

It’s gained a lot of momentum over the past year or so, and many people are choosing to get semicolon tattoos as a constant reminder that, yes, their struggle is very, very real, but they have a story to tell, and they do possess the strength to continue.

The idea of getting a semicolon tattoo has intrigued me since I first read about it several months ago. I’ve been wanting a new tattoo, and I’ve been wanting a way to commemorate how I’m overcoming my own struggles.

I self-injured myself (also called cutting) in high school. I’ve battled suicidal thoughts, depression, and anxiety. I’ve told a bit of my story here if you’re interested in learning about my own journey.

While I do plan on getting the tattoo eventually, I’ve chosen to delay it for a bit. Instead, I’ve opted for a different approach. Every morning when I wake up, I take a Sharpie and draw a semicolon on my wrist where I’d eventually like the tattoo to be. (I need to get better at my drawing skills, obviously.)

The point is that every day when I ink my wrist, I’m reminding myself that no matter how bad my anxiety gets that day, no matter how large the dark cloud of depression which looms over me is, I am choosing to continue my story. I am choosing to fight back against my inner demons. I am choosing to acknowledge my struggles–rather than hide from them–and also acknowledge that I am fighting through this because I am a strong, powerful, capable woman who can make it through.

It’s becoming a part of my morning routine and every time I catch a glance of the mark on my arm during my busy, chaotic days, I’m reminded of these truths. And it calms me just a little bit. It gives me strength and courage and the confidence to persevere.

I will someday get the mark permanently placed on my wrist, but for now the daily reminder has been very healing and cathartic and powerful for me.

I just wanted to share a bit of my story with you. Thanks for listening.

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19 thoughts on “Why I’m Not Joining The Semicolon Movement Yet

  • July 16, 2015 at 7:26 pm

    My daughter has wanted one since I (finally) explained where the scar came from last year. I’m considering going with her, doing it together in solidarity. She’s fought her own demons and I’m proud of how far she’s come. I want her to always remember that she has beaten the demons. It’s that knowledge that gives us the courage to do it again.

  • July 16, 2015 at 8:30 pm

    I love this. I cannot commit to any ink. I never considered that there was an option. Thanks for the clue in, and all your other stuff too. I enjoy your posts. I took a shower yesterday and only injured myself with a shaving error. You win!

  • July 23, 2015 at 9:06 am

    Love this, love this more than the tattoo because each day this gives you the opportunity to start committing to the battle

  • September 11, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    Thank you for sharing!

  • September 16, 2015 at 8:35 am

    I love this idea. I don’t think it’s possible can *win*– just to keep committing to keep showing up and trying. The semi-colon is also a reminder to me to pause, to take a breath, and just because I do doesn’t mean I will fail/fall/end. Thank you.

  • September 26, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    I ordered semicolon temporary tattoos so I can try them out for a while. It’s great that you have that ritual every morning.

  • October 14, 2015 at 6:27 pm

    Came upon this post when I was googling “Project Semi-Colon” images. I’m going to get mine done in the next couple of days, and like you, I’ve been waiting on it. I knew I wanted it, but it was a matter of really making sure I was doing it because it was necessary for my self-growth (and not a consequence of mania! haha)
    Unlike you though, I was not clever enough to even think of inking it on my wrist myself. I walk around with four Sharpies in my purse at any given time, you’d think this should have occurred to me. This was a great post, and I’m so glad to have found your blog.

  • November 11, 2015 at 4:39 am

    I felt the same way. I’ve always wanted a tattoo but it needed to have meaning for me. The semicolon instantly was it. So i drew it on my wrist to make sure. Every day, drawing it made me smile and realize that there IS hope and I am stronger because of the choice I have made to continue with my life when I was struggling with ending it. Funny how a punctuation mark can bring such meaning, but it does. After a couple of months, I got the tattoo and it still brings me happiness.

    May you find that hope and joy too.

  • November 24, 2015 at 7:48 am

    I could have written every word you wrote. I’ve been drawing my own on my wrist for about 2 months now and I too find that drawing it makes me stop and think every single day about the choices I have made and the ones I make today. Oddly enough – i’m going at lunch to get it for real! Much love to all here and those everywhere who struggle with depression or watch a loved one do so….. #StayStrong #ChooseHappiness

  • December 29, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    I think this is great but the title is wrong. You ARE joining in the semicolon project, you just did it differently, like many others did. Which is fine, it’s a great movement to be apart of. Glad you were able to inspire some but the title of this makes you sound like you think you’re better than people who join the actual semicolon project.

  • January 6, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    This is exactly what I was planing to do because i don’t want a tattoo, and technically anyone who puts a semicolon on there wrist is in the semicolon project. I also struggle with self harm currently.

  • April 19, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    I have no tattoos and never thought that I would. I have struggled with depression and anxiety for years. I’ve also survived tremendous loss. I absolutey love the semicolon project. It expresses the struggle in broad terms. Then each individual can apply the sentiment and meaning to their personal struggle.

    Your idea of drawing it on daily, leading up to the permanent step, is genius! I am going to do that now as well. Thank you for the suggestion and I wish you all the best in your own journey!

  • August 10, 2016 at 7:37 am

    Awesome thing to do! Hope you’re still doing well, choosing the semi-colon everyday!

  • January 13, 2017 at 2:43 am

    I always do this every morning to help me get through my day. I always get weird looks from people but i will continue to do it to get me through my tough days. I’m planing on getting it permanently tattooed, once I talk myself into dealing with the needles and pain.

  • March 13, 2018 at 9:53 pm

    I just learned about Project Semi-Colon a month ago and am only eleven so I can’t get a tattoo but I draw 6 different ones on my arm everyday and I just feel strength because I’m hiding some things from my parents and only one of my friends know and I told them not to tell anybody so.. Yeah!

  • April 11, 2018 at 9:54 am

    The title is very misleading. Arguably you have “joined the project” but even if you haven’t this in no way explains why?

    That said, drawing it on is fair enough. Tattoos aren’t for everyone, especially one like that. I drew it for a while myself after my friend killed himself.

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