I don’t remember where I was or what I was doing, but I glanced over at someone’s wrist a couple years ago and I saw a tattoo of a semicolon. As a writer, I have always loved the semicolon. It allowed for more dramatic pauses or showing incomplete thoughts in characters as they wrestled with what to do. But to permanently mark your body with a punctuation mark? That’s serious! I never saw that person again, and even if I had the chance, I wouldn’t have asked them about their form of expression on their body. So I did what any curious person does after they see something interesting: I googled it. And it was here that I learned about Project Semicolon.
Project Semicolon was founded in 2013 by Amy Bleuel. I encourage you to go on their website and learn more about the cause. In short, Project Semicolon is about Mental Health awareness and Suicide Prevention. The semicolon represents someone who has survived thoughts of suicide and realized that their story was not yet over. A period marks the end of a sentence, but a semicolon connects clauses together. I absolutely love that symbolism. For someone to hit rock bottom and realize that they want to rewrite their story and have it not end, is literally life-changing. So the semicolon tattoo represents hope, beauty, love, victory, and whatever adjective you want to add.
So, what in the world does this have to do with stepping outside your comfort zone? Everything. Trying new things, sky diving, and reading new books are all great, but sometimes getting out of our comfort zone is ugly and uncomfortable. Sometimes it’s learning patience and empathy and being able to help others. Suicide, depression, and other mental health issues are not fun to talk about and we often shy away from them if we don’t have to deal with it ourselves, but you never know when someone will walk into your life and you have an opportunity to be a light at the end of their tunnel. It literally could be the difference between life and death.
So, learn!!! The more we learn, the more we can understand eachother, and the more likely we are to identify signs of things that may be preventable. We are all thumbing through the pages of our own stories; whether we are reading along, writing, or waiting to see what happens; it is unpredictable and exciting at times.
That’s all for today. I’ve been wanting to write this piece for a long time but never could package it just right. But sometimes life is not packaged perfectly with square corners and a bow. Sometimes, it just is what it is.
*********I am not at all qualified to give suicide prevention help, so if you or someone you know is dealing with issues and needs to talk to someone, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and visit their website: suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
*Artwork by Cassy Galon