Semicolon Tattoo History
If you haven’t seen anything, then that means you’re not looking close enough. But they’re everywhere.
This is a reference to semicolon tattoos. It is a type of tattoo design that has been gaining popularity over the last few years. But compared to other random trends that can make certain people scratch their heads in bewilderment, this one has a rather deep and serious meaning behind it.
No, it has nothing to do with grammar or the English language – A semicolon tattoo symbolizes a person going through mental health struggles and the importance of suicide prevention. Semicolon tattoos started off from a campaign born from social media in 2013, called Project Semicolon. The people behind Project Semicolon have described themselves as a movement solely dedicated to giving love and hope for those who are currently struggling with issues like addiction, suicide, depression, and self-injury. Project Semicolon is there to inspire, love, and give encouragement.
But why choose a semicolon? According to the founders, a semicolon is utilized when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence – But decides not to. This author is you, and the sentence is your life. Project Semicolon first started out as a day in which people were allowed to draw a semicolon on their bodies and take a picture of it. Then it later became something that’s more permanent and bigger. Now, people from across the globe are getting semicolon tattoos, to remind themselves of their victory, survival, and struggle.
In 2012, at least 43 million people from the US admitted that they were suffering from a form of mental illness. Mental illness is not uncommon. However, there is still a strong stigma surrounding this issue, and it stops people from openly discussing it among their peers. This is a barrier to getting all of the help they need.
In 2014, the Project Semicolon founders conducted an event in several tattoo shops across the country, in which people can get themselves a semicolon tattoo for a fixed rate. The money served as a fundraiser for a crisis center associated with mental illness. That day, over 400 people got themselves a semicolon tattoo. And what initially started off as a local event became widespread, and now people from all over the world are acquiring semicolon tattoos.
And this isn’t just about conversation – It’s all about giving help and tangible support as well. The founders of Project Semicolon work together with the Agora Crisis Center, first founded in 1970. It is also one of the oldest crisis centers in the US. And with the help of the Semicolon Tattoo Project, they managed to connect even more individuals with the necessary help during times of crisis.
It doesn’t really matter how an individual manages to get there – What’s important is the end result: Providing support and help for more people, so they are able to say “I’m still here”.
Types Of Semicolon Tattoos
One of the biggest reasons as to why people decide to get themselves a semicolon tattoo is to simply raise awareness regarding the issue of suicide and self-harm. This idea could be hard to believe at first, but this fully elementary punctuation mark does its job of uniting people from across the globe, with the sole purpose of helping and listening to those who are currently struggling with anxiety, depression, and other forms of mental health issues.
- Butterfly semicolon tattoo – This is a design that is very popular with the ladies. It deals with making the semicolon as the body of a butterfly. And using this tattoo design, you can include a bit of color into your own tattoo by applying butterfly wings in various shades and patterns. You can also give your tattoo a much more meaningful design by associating it with something as beautiful as a butterfly.
- Finger semicolon tattoo – Usually, the semicolon tattoo found on a person’s finger is a minimal design, since it’s obviously just composed of a semicolon design. You won’t be able to draw any other portrait, image, or theme with it. So a tiny tattoo like this one can bring in a very personal message for yourself, or somebody who is very close to you. Since a semicolon tattoo is small in size, these tattoos will bring in two huge benefits: The first one is economical since it comes in a small size and is much less painful to get. It’s not that time consuming either, and the artist can even finish it within a few minutes. However, the size is not without its drawbacks – A semicolon tattoo can have reduced visibility, and might fade away quickly if not taken care of. But if you’re new to this whole tattooing thing, then you can probably consider inking a minimal and beautiful semicolon tattoo on your finger.
- Semicolon heart tattoo – Hearts are always a great addition to any tattoo, no matter what the design may be. There are plenty of ways for you to draw it, and perhaps the most common one deals with including the marks inside your heart. You are also free to change up the shape of the dot together with the top of the semicolon, going from its usual rounded shape up to a heart shape. Incorporating the heart symbol into your tattoo can show that you really love what life has to offer, and you want to stay alive for as long as you possibly could.
- Cool semicolon tattoo – This tattoo design will blow you away thanks to the amazing gray and black illustrative semicolon tattoo project found on the wearer’s leg. However, you probably couldn’t have even imagined that something so simple and tiny like a semicolon can be changed into a finely-detailed tattoo with an accompanying landscape, a whale, and even sea waves.
- Quote semicolon tattoo – It’s always great whenever a semicolon tattoo comes with any other body marking. This includes a positivity quote, or any word with a positive connotation to it. A phrase, a quote, or a word always brings out the true meaning of your semicolon tattoo idea, especially if you aren’t fully aware of what it stands for. For example, you can write things like ‘I love life’ on your wrists or arms and place a semicolon at the end. Another good idea is to put the name of someone close to you, or someone who is struggling with suicide or depression. Place a semicolon at the start or end of it.
Meaning Of Semicolon Tattoos
The semicolon tattoo has gained a rather large growth through the years. Such a tiny character can contain plenty of meaning, but it is also associated with optimism or hope. Back in the day, it was once thought that only bookworms or English-language geeks will acquire a tattoo like that on their bodies. But nowadays, people won’t just refer to it as a punctuation mark, since they are now fully aware of the fact that these semicolon tattoos now have a long list of interpretations such as survival, strength, or the idea of harboring positive thoughts.
So having a semicolon tattoo can symbolize the fact that you – Or someone you know – Has been struggling with any mental illness. It can also be translated as a sentence to a real-life situation, and this is normally associated with things like suicide and depression. Getting a semicolon tattoo on your body could mean that you would have already ended your life or killed yourself because of your struggles, but you chose to soldier on and start a new life that’s free from any suicidal tendencies.
A plain semicolon tattoo already says enough. It may be tiny, but it’s got a very strong meaning, letting the wearer place it on the wrists. You can also put it there as a reminder to yourself not to return to self-harming.
Semicolon Tattoo Placement
One of the best things about a semicolon tattoo is that it’s such a tiny and unobtrusive symbol which you can place practically anywhere you like. The smallest semicolon tattoos are the ones that are hidden in plain sight without people noticing it right away. Some great examples are where people have them tattooed on the skin behind the ears, or on the side of a finger. Other people choose to place them at the back of their feet.
A bigger design and those large and detailed ones are those that get placed anywhere else, for obvious reasons. The inner forearm is one of those popular spots. People usually get their tattoos placed there as a reference, as well as to counter the thought of slitting one’s wrists. You can get the same type of tattoo done on the back of your neck, the side of your neck, or even on your legs, among other places.
Apart from the interesting meaning behind brandishing a semicolon tattoo, the placement of this small tattoo includes a bit of symbolism. A semicolon tattoo at the back of the wearer’s ear means that the wearer always listens to what their heart or mind has to say, and pays close attention to the lessons they have learned from the past. And apart from that, they only like to show off their tattoo when they shave their hair down or wear it on the top of their head, like a bun. This is the reason why it’s such a private and personal location for anyone who wears it. Placing a semicolon tattoo on the wearer’s finger, meanwhile, will keep them from acting against themselves in their daily lives, making sure that they only act in their best interests.
But sometimes you can see semicolon tattoos on the person’s wrists far more than any other placement on the body. Most people who want to get rid of their past will go forward while bearing the scars from their past lives. Wrists are commonly used as a spot for self-mutilation, and the scars from this nasty habit will always remind the wearer of what they used to do back then. It’s really unfortunate that the act of harming one’s self creates an ugly cycle. The feeling of adrenaline which comes from this short burst of pain creates a way for the person to escape from a stressful life. And after using this method to get away from the stress, any kind of bad tidings will tempt them to go back to what they once were, even after they have started a new life.
A semicolon tattoo on the scars can help the troubled wearer hide them away – And it might also give the impression that these faded scars come from the old design. And more importantly, when the wearer is tempted to start cutting themselves again, the tattoo can block the person from doing just that.
Semicolon Tattoo Preparation Tips
Talk to a tattoo artist. When you already came up with a design, go look for a great tattoo artist that you want to work with, and one who fits your aesthetic. You can actually find one through word-of-mouth: For example, if your friend has already worked together with an artist that they liked, or you can do research online and go find a reputable artist who lives near your area. And once you have found the artist of your choice, go browse through some online reviews and look at their past works or portfolio – Either displayed online or in their shop. If you’re okay with the artist’s reputation, if you like their works, and you feel like they can create the tattoo design of your dreams, then by all means book an appointment with them after you make a consultation.
A lot of artists will create a draft of the design you envisioned, so it’ll meet your approval during the start of your appointment. If there’s something that you dislike about the design, then tell your artist about it. They’ll be happy to redesign it from scratch and make it exactly like what you imagined it to be.
There are actually plenty of tattoo artists out there whose services are highly sought-after, and as a result, cannot meet up with you in your assigned time or date. Instead, you’re going to have to book an appointment with them probably months in advance. But if you like their designs well enough, then all that waiting will surely be worth it.
Consider the placement of the tattoo. Even though you can pretty much place a tattoo anywhere on your skin, there are still some spots in which getting a tattoo done there is much more painful than the rest. For your first tattoo, think about putting it in an area where there’s plenty of flesh in it, and isn’t as soft – An area that isn’t placed above bone and isn’t too sensitive.
For instance, a tattoo on the sole of your foot might feel twice as painful compared to one done on your calf – Since a foot tattoo hits bone much more directly. Places which are very tender include your feet, the inside of your arms, the ribs, and your thighs. So all in all, avoid putting tattoos in places where the bones are directly above the skin. A tattoo done there will hurt twice as much.
Consider the pain you’ll experience while getting a tattoo. It’s always a good idea to understand what kind of pain you’ll be experiencing before the session begins. This is a good way for you to mentally prepare yourself for the whole thing. Plenty of people who have gotten tattoos have described it as fingernails roughly scratching on freshly-sunburnt skin. The pain will feel dull for some individuals, but it can still feel acute each time the needle from the tattoo gun hits a nerve, or a place close to the bones, or repeatedly goes over the same spot.
Are Semicolon Tattoos Painful?
If you’re feeling ill, weak, dizzy, or lethargic during the tattooing session, then eat a candy bar or anything filled with sugar. The needle continuously jabbing at your skin can actually cause your blood sugar levels to plummet, leading to some unwanted side effects. Be sure to let your artist know if you’re feeling dizzy or ill. They will stop whatever it is they’re doing and give you some time to breathe, get some fresh air, or regroup yourself for a while.
Not only should you stay full, you have to keep yourself well-hydrated too. Drinking water has so many benefits for our bodies that it’s near impossible to list them all down. Be sure to drink the daily recommended amount of water, especially during the days leading up to your tattooing session. This will help you feel great throughout the entire thing.
Wear comfortable clothes. The main objective here is to feel relaxed during the session itself, and be as comfortable as you possibly can. Donning comfy and loose clothing will definitely go a long way to make you feel relaxed while you’re on that chair.
Feeling fidgety and nervous because your favorite pair of tight-fitting pants or shorts keep riding up your butt won’t help you with fighting through all that pain, and trying to focus on anything else.
As previously mentioned, thinking positively about your upcoming tattooing session will go a long way, especially since this is bound to be a painful and lengthy session all in all. Go right in with your best outlook regarding the situation, and you’re bound to come out feeling your best and super happy and proud of your brand new ink. And not only that you’ll also be delighted at how you were able to handle the day.
Get a decent amount of sleep the night before you visit the shop for your session. There is absolutely nothing worse than having to sit for a lengthy two-hour session with an accompanying hangover. You’ll surely enjoy the experience a lot more if you are at your most energetic and positive state.
On the other hand, a horrible night of sleep before your appointment can result in you feeling anxious, fidgety, grumpy, and impatient throughout the whole thing. This isn’t going to benefit you or your artist – And it makes you more susceptible to the pain as well.
Listen to what the artist tells you. They are the only ones that know what’s best for you and your tattoo, as well as how to keep you feeling comfortable, pain-free, and relaxed as you possibly could. Follow each and every advice your artist gives you, and you’ll be better off during the entire session for it. So if they instruct you to go out and get some fresh air for several minutes because you seem exhausted, then go and do it.
A classic tactic would be to take something you can bite on. This is similar to those war films where a soldier has to have their arm or leg amputated right away without any access to anesthetics. So what do these doctors do? Give the soldier something to bite on.
Frequently Asked Questions About Semicolon Tattoos
- What do I need to get a tattoo done?
- If you are eighteen years old and above, you may want to bring a government-issued ID together with your photo and birthdate. And if you are sixteen or seventeen years old, you have to bring a government-issued ID with your birthdate and photo, a parent, your parent’s own government-issued ID, a properly filled up notarized form, and the client’s birth certificate. An accepted government-issued ID includes a driver’s license, a state-issued ID card, a passport, a military ID, and, if the client is a minor, their birth certificate.
- How can I tell if the shop I’m about to go to is safe?
- The studio itself has to look clean and well-organized. Check to see if each piece of equipment that they use to touch your body has been sterilized. This means that the artist of your choice has to open up a completely-sealed pack to get to all of the instruments that they will be using: Including needles, ink, and ointment. You have to watch your artist open up the sealed instruments. The same artist must also wear sterilized and clean gloves during the session. Keep in mind that even if you get a tattoo done in a reputable shop and if your artist still follows the rules for tattooing, there are still some potential risks like infections and scars.
- Can I bring my friends, family or children to the shop?
- Even though getting a support system with you as you get a tattoo done is always great, bringing in your entire family could be a tad too much. In fact, the more people you bring along with you, the more you and the artist will be distracted. And the more distractions present, the more it’ll get frustrated for everyone involved. Bringing one family member or one friend along for support is fine, but don’t drag ten of your closest friends or extended family with you. And as for younger children, it’s still best to leave them at home with a babysitter or a guardian.
- What if I want to get rid of my tattoo? is this expensive?
- Yes it is. The final price of tattoo removal will vary on the size of the tattoo you want to get rid of, as well as your method of choice. If you end up realizing that your tattoo was a mistake and you’re actually willing to spend some cash for it, then there are plenty of ways for you to remove your tattoo permanently. A health care professional – And not a tattoo artist – Will perform the removal. One of the most common ways to get rid of a tattoo is through a laser appointment. This can cost from $280 up to $850 with each visit. But even after that’s done, you might see some remnants of your old tattoo. You could also get blisters and scars from the process.
How Much Does A Semicolon Tattoo Cost?
If you go for a local artist, tattoo shops can carry the same minimum amount that gets charged for each client. So no matter if that little flower tattoo of yours is on your finger or on the wrist, it’ll have the same price. The shop’s minimum rate does vary according to the location. In places like Chicago, you won’t be able to get good quality art for less than sixty bucks. Places in the UK, meanwhile, contain a minimum that is practically the US equivalent of over fifty bucks to a whopping ninety bucks. And in regards to pricing, everything will solely depend on how and where you want to get the tattoo done. It could be more, it could be less. There might be an hourly rating or the artist could choose to place an individual pricing on every tattoo that they do. When it comes to money, keep in mind that you will get what you have paid for.
Semicolon Tattoo Maintenance Tips
Using a regular towel to wipe your tattoo after rinsing it can irritate it, or even cause bits of towel fluff to get stuck inside them. Only use a dry, clean paper towel when wiping a tattoo. Pat gently and do not rub.
Be sure to only apply a non-scented antibacterial moisturizer for your tattoo. After drying your tattoo, spread a little bit of moisturizing ointment – Preferably, an all-natural form of aftercare for the tattoo. Apply only a thin layer on your new ink, then pat it in gently until your skin fully absorbs it. If you’re uncertain about what kind of ointment you should be using, then ask your artist for recommendations. Certain brands like Aquaphor are a good recommendation. Never use Vaseline or any other petroleum-based product, because this can feel thick on the skin and end up clogging your pores. Remember that your skin needs to breathe for your tattoo to fully recover. Do not apply a fresh gauze or bandage to your tattoo after you have moisturized and cleaned it up.
Moisturize your tattoo everyday until the scabs and flakes have all disappeared. And keep washing it twice or thrice a day using antibacterial soap and lukewarm water until everything is completely healed. This could go from two up to six weeks, depending on your tattoo’s location, and how big it is.
And while you’re keeping that tattoo moisturized, it’s always important not to smother it too much in moisturizer – Just a thin layer will do. Keep using the same mild unscented soap when you clean it up regularly.
Do not pick or scratch your tattoo. While it’s busy healing up, your tattoo will begin to scab, which is completely normal. Allow the scabs to naturally dry out and flake off all by themselves. Never ever speed up the healing process by scratching or even picking the scabs. This could cause them to fall off prematurely, leaving lightened spots or holes on the tattoo and ruin its appearance.
Peeling or dry scabbing skin can also be quite itchy – And as mentioned, scratching them can cause the scabs to prematurely fall out. Pat on the itchy spot lightly to relieve it. Keep using moisturizer on your tattoo to stop the itchiness.
Don’t put out your tattoo in direct sunlight. The sun can emit harsh rays which can cause your skin to blister up and lighten some of the shades of your tattoo. And because of this, it’s always a good idea to keep it fully covered and shielded away from the sun, for up to a month until the first part of the healing is finished. After everything has all healed up, you may want to put on some sunscreen to stop the tattoo from completely fading away.
Do not soak your tattoo in water. Until your tattoo has healed up nicely, never swim at the beach or pool, or even soak in a jacuzzi or bathtub. Keeping your tattoo exposed to a body of water will potentially pull the ink away from your skin and create plenty of damage to its appearance.