A semicolon (;) is a punctuation mark used by writers so suggest a powerful pause between two clauses. It packs the same gravitas as a full stop (.), but without actually ending the phrase. It also hints at a much closer relationship between the two clauses than there would have been if the writer had used a full stop.
Social media is no stranger to noble or social causes that bring people together for the greater good, and one such event knows as “Project Semicolon” is currently helping a great number of young people from all over the planet fight off depression, suicidal tendencies, addiction, as well as self-harm.
The official website of the projects also explains semicolons by stating that “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”.
Simply put, the project encourages people to get a tattoo of a semicolon in order to symbolize their struggle with one of the above mentioned issues, and their refusal to allow it to get the best of them.
Whether the tattoo is permanent (ink), semi-permanent (henna), or only lasts one day (think of markers drawing on skin) is up to each individual. What’s important is that you wear it proudly and raise awareness for depression and all of the additional hardships that it brings with it, as well as encourage others to fight against that state.
Project Semicolon is a nom-profit movement founded by Amy Bluel, a Wisconsin resident, just a few years ago, in 2013. She used her own life experiences as inspiration for the social media phenomenon, admitting to her fellow fighters that she herself has experiment depression when she was younger.
It was not just a mild case either, as the condition led her to attempt suicide multiple times, as well as inflict harm upon herself more than once. On top of everything, Bluel’s father also suffered from depression and took his own life more than a decade ago, back in 2003, leaving young 18 year old Bluel to struggle with the loss.
The Project Semicolon founder gave a statement saying that one of the main reasons why she started the project was to honor her dad and tell his story to other people facing similar issues.
Some media outlets mistakenly reported that the movement began when Bluel got her first semicolon tattoo, in memory of her late father, but she clarified that it actually started roughly a month before that.
The first official day of the movement was April 16, 2013. That day Bluel uploaded a flyer on social media and encouraged users to draw a semicolon on their wrist as a sign that either they or someone close to them are struggling with mental illness.
The project was an instant hit. The number of participants had passed 500.000 people by the end of the first 24 hours, and the movement has maintained a strong online presence to this day as it helps people battling depression feel that they are not alone in their struggle, and offers them an opportunity to connect to someone who is going through the same thing and can understand them.
Judging by their social media statements, many participants feel empowered by the movement. Keighteee wrote that very few people know of her struggles and that, to her, the semicolon symbolizes the all the different times she thought about committing suicide, and even went as far as t plan it, but chose to “push through the pain” instead.
Madx.18 wrote that the tattoo tells her it’s ok to talk about her mental illness, while elyse_bee wrote that it’s a reminder of beautiful things that come from dark and unexpected situations.
You can search fore more examples on Twitter by using the hashtag #ProjectSemicolon.
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