Punctuating Their Point: The Semicolon Tattoo

People everywhere are lining up outside tattoo parlors to get semicolons put on them.


Photo Courtesy of Sammi Tester

People are getting tattoos of semicolons on their bodies, commonly their arms.

Sammi Tester, Editor of Student Opinion

Recently, the Semicolon Tattoo Project has been getting a lot of attention from all sorts of people. If you haven’t seen the Buzzfeed video, Cosmopolitan article, or any of the other countless social media posts yet, you might be living under a rock. The semicolon project is when someone gets a tattoo of a semicolon somewhere on their body (most commonly their arm) to represent when the person with the tattoo could have ended their life, but chose not to, much like when an author uses a semicolon to keep the sentence going when they could have ended it.

The whole idea of the project confounds me. I don’t understand why you would want to get a semicolon permanently etched onto your skin. If you ever get over the awful hill that is depression or anxiety, would you really want to be reminded every day when you see your tattoo of those negative thoughts you had? I know I wouldn’t and I don’t know anyone who would. I understand that maybe seeing that semicolon would remind you that you overcame your bad days and good ones are here to come, but I would remember the thoughts I had and find myself making negative progress every time I saw it.

Another problem I thought of about the whole scheme of the project is people talking about it. Tattoos are often used as conversation starters, so you would have to have a conversation with someone, likely a stranger, about your cause for getting the tattoo. You would have to explain why you had your problem and then, again, find yourself thinking about the awful thoughts you used to (or still do) have.

I have to admit that some of the tattoos I found of semicolons are beautiful. A lot of people are finding unique ways to incorporate a semicolon into different animals or other pieces of art. Also, I do believe that you should be self-empowered and love yourself. It’s the concept of having a semicolon on you for the rest of your life that I don’t think is the best way to help the process of loving and accepting yourself for who you are.