Why I won’t participate in the semicolon movement

16 Jul

I think it’s great that people are trying to fight the stigma of mental illness.  I just don’t think this is the right way to do it, depending on where your tattoo is located depends on who would see it.  It’s pretty much everywhere in the media, fb, news, etc now that most people know what the semicolon tattoo means.  To me it would be the same as putting a non-descript sign around my neck that says I have a mental illness.  Will people judge me, yes.  Will most people ask about it, no.  Will the ones who do ask want too personal of information and just to sensationalize it, probably.  Does it describe what illness I have or the severity, no.  Am I comfortable with strangers on the street, police, employers, coworkers, acquaintances seeing it, no.  Will they make assumptions about me based on that tattoo, probably.

I would just rather when comfortable share what it’s like to have a mental illness and that I have one.  I want to be in control of that and to be safe and protective I think it’s important.  My old boss knew eventually into the job about a year or so that I had severe mental illness but even if he didn’t know it was severe, I doubt I would have got the job if I has a visible semi colon tattoo, especially working with kids.  What if I were to be pulled over by the cops and they saw my tattoo, I would definitely think they’d be judging me different than the random person being pulled over for speeding, and not in a good way.  How do you explain it to kids.  What do you say on dates?  Tattoos while not as permanent as they used to be are a pretty strong commitment.  Do you want that semi colon to define you or label you for the rest of your life?

The purpose of a semicolon tattoo someone asked:

Founded by Amy Bluel in 2013, Project Semicolon unifies those that share an affinity for the symbol. Its official website explains the idea behind the tattoo:

“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.”

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6 Responses to “Why I won’t participate in the semicolon movement”

  1. midnightdemons7 July 16, 2015 at 6:16 PM #

    personally, I think tatoos are stupid and a waste of hard earned money, but to each their own. But this is a deeper issue as you point out. I am glad you wrote this because i had no clue what the semi colon meant. and to fight stigma, couldn’t they find another symbol??

    • mm172001 July 16, 2015 at 6:18 PM #

      Founded by Amy Bluel in 2013, Project Semicolon unifies those that share an affinity for the symbol. Its official website explains the idea behind the tattoo:

      “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.”
      http://www.bdcwire.com/project-semicolon/

  2. manyofus1980 July 16, 2015 at 10:22 PM #

    I agree Marcie. I wouldnt get one either. For mostly the same reasons as you. XX

  3. S July 22, 2015 at 11:23 PM #

    I would just like to say as a person who has the semicolon tattoo that I do not see myself as now wearing a neon sign pointing to my illness. I look at it and see the strength I have built to get to where I am. I wear it with pride because I have a mental illness and I am still alive. Will people judge me based upon it? Probably. Will I care? Maybe a little bit, but at the same time maybe, just maybe someone who is going through the same thing will see that they are not alone. I get your point of view and I get that putting this on your body is asking for automatic judgement, but you shouldn’t be ashamed of it. I know society has put this huge stigma upon mental illnesses and created this horrible vibe around it, but if we talk about and we help each other, maybe we will save someone in the process. I spent years being ashamed of my illness and because of that I almost gave up my fight, but I didn’t. Everyone has their own opinions, and what project semicolon is doing is amazing. You can believe in their message and not put a tattoo on your body, just saying.

    • mm172001 July 23, 2015 at 8:45 PM #

      I thank you for the time and the thoughtful comment. I went back and re-read my post and I didn’t mean for it to come across as against the semi colon movement but more as just why I personally wouldn’t get the tattoo. Maybe down the line when I’m more comfortable with being completely out and anyone being able to discuss my illness I would consider it. I just personally couldn’t handle the possible judgement at this time. And I do believe in the message, as I said I’m all about ways to reduce stigma.

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