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Why I Got a Semicolon Tattoo


I grew up in a pretty normal, conservative, middle class household. My parents weren’t super strict. Or super lenient. They were just sort of… average really.

Piercing, body modifications and tattoos just weren’t our cup of tea. I remember my dad thinking it bizarre I wanted to get my ears pierced at 16. I did it anyway. Twice.

Never in my entire life had I ever considered getting a tattoo. In fact mostly I thought tattoos were a silly thing to do – I mean who would do something so permanent to their body? That’s certainly the message I’ve been sending to my children for 20 plus years! Then on my birthday last month, I suddenly felt an overwhelming urge to get a tattoo. Not as a decoration — as a statement. Not for you. Not for family or friends. A statement for me. To remind me my story isn’t over yet. And so today I got a tattoo.

I read about the semicolon project sometime ago and was going to get a semicolon to remind myself that despite chronic suicidal ideation last year, I am still here. Then as I read more I found the phrase “My Story Isn’t Over Yet” popping up all the time in relation to the semicolon project and I strongly resonated with that. So I had it tattooed on my wrist. Partly for the statement and the reminder. Partly to stop me wanting to cut.

Then when playing around on Pinterest, I discovered an eating disorder recovery symbol and I wanted that too. So I have the text and semicolon across my wrist with the recovery symbol on the back. All linked up with a squiggly line.

Despite it being very early days (I’ve had a tattoo for five hours so far and it is in fact, still wrapped in cling wrap), I am extremely happy. I feel like I’ve made a statement to myself. If days get dark, it is a visual reminder I’ve been there before and I made it through. I can do it again.

My husband now calls me his “badass inked up babe,” which is so not me. I am not badass and I’m not a babe. I’m usually a big baby. I was asked today if I had it done as a bucket list thing and I immediately said, “No!” Because I didn’t. But it has left me wondering. What is on my bucket list? I need to make one. Because I would like to feel successful in life, I think I’ll start my bucket list with things I’ve already done. So I’m now going to add, “Get a tattoo” to the top of my bucket-list. But I’d also like to fill my list with things I haven’t done yet. So the unfinished story of this badass inked up babe will have some more interesting tidbits to tell.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Photo via contributor.