New Tattoo! (CW: Suicide)

I’m traveling home today from a week-long visit with the in-laws, but it’s also been two whole weeks since I’ve checked in here. I don’t feel pressure to keep the Content Monster fed, but it’s also important to me that I try to keep a regular practice of writing and posting. So — my apologies for not giving all of you a heads up that I would be a bit too busy to post for a couple weeks this month. I’ll be more mindful of that in the future. 

I was preparing for Further Confusion the week before last, and in Arkansas to celebrate my brother-in-law’s wedding last week. All joyous occasions, and I’m grateful for the many chances I had to reconnect with people. More on that later, probably.

But first I wanted to show off the new tattoo I got at FC! It’s a small and unobtrusive thing, and I’m quite happy with it. Hopefully the photo of it doesn’t ruin the formatting for this post!

A close-up picture of the author’s left forearm, featuring a small semicolon tattoo below a rainbow watch band.

If you’re having trouble making it out, it’s a semicolon. I learned about Project Semicolon a few years ago on Facebook, and resolved immediately to make it my first tattoo. As a suicide-attempt survivor myself and as someone who has lost people to suicide and deaths of despair, it’s very important to me that we raise awareness about mental health issues as well as lower the stigma surrounding suicide. It’s a heavy topic for sure, but it’s far too common for our friends, family, and neighbors to suffer in silence believing there’s nowhere they can turn to for support. 

This tattoo reminds me that I was fortunate enough to move on past my suicide attempt, and that my life kept going. My story could have ended there, but it didn’t. I’m still writing my life, every day. 

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.

Amy Bleuel

I want to share my experience so that it helps other people in similar situations to seek support, wherever it can be found. My semicolon is a reminder to be kind to myself and everyone I meet, and to keep being open about how my mental illness shapes my story, but doesn’t define it. Ultimately, I’m the writer of my fate — not my depression. 
If you’d like to learn more about Project Semicolon, I encourage you to head over to their website! There may even be local chapters you can join to network with others who care about this issue. At the very least, we can celebrate World Semicolon Day together on April 16th!

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