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-Project Semicolon
I came across Project Semicolon in the spring of 2014, and it was something that resounded so deeply within me. At that time in my life, I was struggling heavily with self-harm and suicide was a daily thought for me. But I desperately wanted to have hope that things could get better. I wanted to believe that I could heal. That the scars on my wrists, the scars on my heart would heal…that I could find peace and happiness. I wanted to tell a story worth telling, live a life worth living. And Amy’s personal story inspired me to do so.
In the spring of 2014 I got my semicolon tattoo. It was and still is a constant reminder to keep choosing life, to fight for the life I want. It is one of my smallest, yet most significant tattoos. Not only is it important for me, but it is also a way to spark conversation. When people ask what it means, I not only get to share Amy’s hope with people, but I am able to share my story in hopes that I can inspire another person. I wear it as “badge” that I have overcome the dark parts of my story, and it is a signal to others that they can find safety in sharing their story with me.
On March 23,2017 Amy Bleuel died by suicide, and even though I never met her, the ache in my heart is so profound. Though she is no longer with us, her life and legacy live on with all those she inspired. Amy fought so hard to create a safe space where others could seek help, and that will continue through of all us who believed in her words. All of us who clung on to that Hope.
This article by The Mighty perfectly sums up the mixed emotions those of us in the field of suicide prevention are feeling.
For me, personally… I will continue to display my semicolon tattoo. Because I still believe in the idea behind the Project, because it helped me. I will continue to speak about what I have been through, and I will continue to place myself in situations where I can help others. I will continue my professional work as a mental health counselor. I will continue my personal work in suicide prevention. and I will continue to be a safe space for anyone who needs it.
That is how I want to continue my story.
To be HOPE for the Hurting.