I’ve been wanting to get a semi-colon tattoo for ages, pending finding the right design. Well, the right design was found and I took the plunge yesterday.
Why a semi-colon, you might well ask? You might have heard of Project Semi-Colon, which aims to raise awareness of mental illness, and remove the stigma of talking openly about it. A semi-colon is punctuation that is used when an author could have chosen to end a sentence, but chose instead to continue.
As a writer and general word nerd I know semi-colons can be misunderstood and misused, which adds another layer of symbolism.
My brief to the tattoo artist included an infinity symbol: indicative of never-ending love; limitless possibilities; a legacy that lasts forever, it expresses more in its simple lines than a million words could.
The semi-colon tattoo is my fourth (including an awful one I had when I was 18 which has been covered up by tattoo number three), and my most visible. I had been pondering a butterfly tattoo for a few years but all the designs felt a bit generic and obvious so the idea was left on the backburner.
I was over the moon when Katie, my fabulous tattoo artist, took my brief – for an infinity symbol with a semi-colon in the middle – and with the flow of the lines and the added very pretty watercolours accidentally created a butterfly.
All of my tattoos are for me and carry a special significance – the others are on my ankles meaning they’re not always on display, but I wanted this one to be seen, so it’s on the inside of my right wrist. Struggles with mental ill health are nothing to be ashamed of; they should not be hidden away.
Talking openly about dark days can help not only yourself as part of a cathartic process, but help others too by lighting the path ahead, and giving them hope for the future.
My tattoo is pretty, feminine, unique, and exquisitely represents my life in a few simple lines and colours. My life, despite the struggles and very dark days of the past couple of years, is not yet over. There are times when the intensity of my emotions threatened to tip me in to the abyss, to finish what HELLP syndrome started. But I am still here, still fighting, moving forward, doing my best to blossom and to thrive, and to spread Hugo’s legacy.
I will wear my tattoo with pride.