How A Small Semicolon Tattoo Saved My Life

Being a writer means bearing our feelings to the world and writing things that sometimes are difficult to admit; even just to ourselves. Sometimes we get to write about how Taylor Swift songs relate to our lives (because they do). But then there are the other times when we have to write about the really dark and scary shit that sometimes sits at the back of our minds like negative time bombs just waiting to explode. These are the hardest to write.

I can’t say that I’m any different than a lot of people. There are days when I think I’m the greatest person around but then there are the other days when I think that this world could be better off without me. As if somehow I’d be doing my friends and family a favor if I just wasn’t around. This isn’t true. It isn’t true when anyone has these thoughts because I fully believe that you are in this world for a reason. But when the walls start to cave in and you feel helpless; things get real fast.

Recently I had been looking into getting tattoos with a good friend of mine when she told me she was getting a semicolon tattoo on her ring finger. “It means that you are the author and your life is the sentence,” I remember her telling me. At that moment, I think I smiled and said cool, not fully grasping what she was saying to me. She wanted a semi colon tattoo and I really wanted birds, so we had different ideas.

A few weeks later, after booking our appointments, I had seen another semicolon tattoo online. The image immediately flashed back to the conversation that I had previously and I decided I needed to look into this more. What I found was that the semicolon tattoo was a representation for people who had anxiety and depression. A semicolon in writing is where an author could have stopped the sentence but decided to keep going. That’s when everything clicked, what my friend said, what the tattoo means and what it means to me.

This past year for me has been a struggle. The thing about personal strife is that it’s just that; personal. Which makes it difficult to find someone who relates and who gets that right now things are difficult. What’s worse is when you feel like you need to go through it all alone. There have been times where I’ve stood in front of my bathroom mirror telling myself the most awful things that I would never say to someone else but it didn’t matter because I wasn’t saying it to them, I was telling myself the truth. You’re fat. You’re stupid. You’re worthless. Nobody deserves to have these things said about them or worse mantras they repeat in their head.

I made a decision that night, after all of the research about the semicolon, I was going to get one too (as long as my friend was OK with it… she was!). As someone who has dealt with an anxiety disorder my entire life (and tried to hide it), I knew what the semicolon would mean to me. It would serve a purpose as a reminder than even when things get tough to fight through it and keep going.

I’ve worked hard to be the person that I am today and it wouldn’t be without the support of everyone around me. The semicolon is just a reminder that I could stop at any time but why would I? Bad days are real and so are good days but that’s what life is. You get to choose how you live it but you should know that it doesn’t matter who you are, you’re worth it. TC mark

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