Wondering why you see people flaunting semi colon tattoos in Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and what have you? Ever paused while scrolling through your news feed when you keep stumbling across those semi colons? Is this some grammar nazi thing going on? Or just some regular tattoo flashing?
Well, yes, it’s tattoo flashing (no prizes for guessing) supporting a cause. Semi colon, which is a punctuation mark used when one could have ended a sentence but decides otherwise. And the semi colon tattoo is trending today as a symbol of hope, after Project Semicolon was begun in 2013 as Amy Bleuel’s way of honouring her father she lost to suicide. Amy Bleuel, who herself fought battles against depression and mental illness saw the period-comma combo as a symbol of hope, of harbouring a spirit of not giving up, in the face of ridicule and stereotype pertaining to mental illness projected by the society. The society has always either been indifferent or mocked people showing attributes of mental illnesses, leading them to bottling up their emotions inside, not seeking help, reclining and resulting in fatalities like suicides and depression.
Project Semicolon aims to become the voice of these people, help them come out of their mental cocoon, surround them with love and understanding and most importantly, cultivate in them, seeds of hope.
“Through the semicolon symbol, many related to the struggle of depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide and their will to continue on … to believe that this is not the end but a new beginning,” the organization’s website says.
What this faith based non profit organization based in Green Bay assures us is that no life is trivial and each of us is precious and unique in our own way. So what if we had been victims to difficult phases or struggles? So what if we are dealing with mental illnesses? Is it right to bifurcate between a mental illness and a physiological illness? No, it is not.
While most people are complacent sitting in front of their laptops or with their phones and clicking on the “like” buttons because it says one “like”= one prayer and feel big hearted after doing so, Project Semicolon are doing their bit to ensure the prayers of the heart are heard.
“Hope is alive,” Amy says.