don’t believe the headlines: “see someone with a semicolon tattoo? here’s what it means.”
i KNEW when i got my semicolon tattoo that there was a movement among self-harmers and depression sufferers to tattoo the punctuation on their bodies (most often over their scars). i KNEW this. and i still got my semicolon tattoo because i love love love me a semicolon; who doesn’t love a semicolon? plus i’m a grammar nazi, so it made sense to put my love of words and word rules on my bod somewhere.
however, there has been a lot of attention given to project semicolon recently, and i’ve seen a large push of articles. and what annoys me most about these is that the writers assume that ALL people who tattoo semicolons are doing it because of overcoming their mental health problems.
now, i’m not anti-project-semicolon. i think it’s fine and a lovely way to commemorate starting afresh.
however, i am anti-assume-everyone’s-tattoo-means-the-same-thing.
people can get a semicolon for many, many reasons: mine means punctuation is awesome and word rules rule; perhaps that person had part of his colon removed; maybe she’s a programmer, where semicolons are a huge necessity; could be a reward for getting a ph.d. in english; or, maybe that person did overcome mental health issues and came out better on the other side.
the truth is, everyone’s tattoo means something different to each person who decides to get inked. a better headline would be: “see someone with a semicolon tattoo? start a conversation and ask what it means.”