Monday, July 13, 2015

The "Semi-Colon" and Tattoos

I've been reading a lot of controversy lately about the Semi Colon Tattoo.  People hate it, people love it, and people are fighting over it.  For me, possibly the most ironic thing realized while reading the slew of hateful internet comments about the punctuation mark tat, is that the grammar and spelling in those comments are so atrocious that I can't believe that any of these individuals would know what a semicolon is or how to properly use it in a sentence anyway.

For those of you who don't understand grammar rules surrounding the semicolon, I'll just leave this here:    Explore at your own pace.


So, here is the reason for the controversy. (For those of you who are in need of playing catch up.)  This hated-by-college-professors-everywhere punctuation mark is being caught in a tug of war struggle between two main factions.  First there are those who have lost a portion of their colon (the organ) due to any disease, (though mostly cancer or crohn's victims.)  This is a quite literal and clever play on the symbol's name: semi-colon.  Ha!  Get it?  Because they, or someone they love, don't have a whole, functioning....  ah, nevermind...
The other faction trying to stake a claim on the mark is all about suicide prevention and mental health, and thus they are emphasizing the metaphoric rule of the semicolon: where you thought a sentence would have ended it continues anew.  It wasn't the end at all!  Surprise!  Just like you thought you were gonna...  um, well...  yeah...

Now let me say right now that BOTH are worthy causes, and worthy of claiming the mark.  (Even if you don't understand how to use it in an actual sentence.)  I have lost friends and loved ones to suicide.  I have lost friends and loved ones to colon cancer.  It doesn't matter who had "claimed" the mark first.  There is room for BOTH factions.  After all that's what a semicolon does, you idiots!  It takes two separate clauses and joins them together showing they are related though stand on their own.  Members of both factions have faced hardships and have overcome, or continue to struggle to overcome, them.  It is so insanely silly that people who have been through hell and back would point fingers at the other party and say, "how dare you use the same symbol I use."  Especially when it could be seen as something beautiful that brings these individuals together.  Surviving, or battling darker days.

So, here are a few rules and tips I'm putting into place for a better, and more peaceful understanding of all this commotion.

1.       How to tell the difference.
A person who has a missing portion of their colon will likely place the tattoo on a shoulder, or arm, or stomach, or just about anywhere, really.  Meanwhile a person raising awareness for suicide prevention often has the mark across their wrist.  It’s something easily visible to them when reaching for a razor blade or bottle of pills, hopefully stopping them—savvy?

2.       Don't get one of these tats if you can't handle questions about it!  Or at least get it in a discreet place that won’t prompt unwanted questions.  People are going to be curious about any tattoo.  It’s natural to ask, and getting affronted is not going to help anyone.  Unless if they are being jerks about it, look at it as an opportunity to educate others and raise awareness for your cause.  (Which is why many people are getting the tattoos in the first place. Duh!  Raising awareness!)

3.       Don't assume you know what it means.  If you haven’t caught on by now, (then I don’t know what you’ve been reading this whole time,) but two very different factions are at war over claiming this symbol at the moment.  If you see a person with this symbol tattooed on their person, it could be for either thing.  Or maybe they just like grammar.  Who knows!?  Ask if you really must!

4.      And Lastly, don't hate on someone for putting a visual reminder of a hardship they lived through on their body. I already explained that there is room for both groups in this.  The symbol can join them, and keep them separate at the same time.  But that’s not what this rule/tip is about.  This is for all the haters out there who are saying this is a horrible “attention seeking” tattoo—especially for those facing suicidal thoughts.  Raising awareness, is not the same as "attention seeking," and neither is reminding yourself of the potential for better days ahead.

I read so many comments like this one responding to an article about suicide awareness/prevention, (I left the bad grammar intact of course):

“Can do it without a tattoo. Don't need to come part of a fashion and show off the fact you had something hard to deal with in your life and just like the attention of it. Grow up. People love drama. Just get on with it. You ent the only ones how have problems. Shit happens. Deal with it and move on. Having this tat means you keep that shitty past with you forever.”

To this ignorant comment I had the pleasure of responding: 

“Or it's a reminder that whatever happened before, wasn't the end.  There is always more to be said.  A happier life to move forward to.  I find it funny that the tattoo is supposed to represent exactly what you're saying.  'Move on with your story.'  Some people just need to remind themselves that.  Everyday.  If YOU can do it without a tattoo, then bully for you.  Why tear down others that need a little help, or reminding?

“Oh, and just FYI...  one of the demographics that have the highest statistics for suicide rate?  Veterans.  1 takes his or her own life every 65 minutes.  Way to be a dick and tell people to "just get over" the suffering they did on YOUR behalf.”

The long of short of it is…  If you are an individual who has been lucky enough to not deal with either of these issues, suicide or surgery, then shut up.  You don’t know what you’re talking about, and hopefully never will. You may be right, “everyone has problems.”  There’s just no need to add on to someone else’s pile, okay?  Don’t be a dick.  And if you’re an individual that falls into one of the demographics using this symbol as a tattooed reminder, remember that there is room for everyone.  You, of all people, should know that life is far too short to be petty and angry over a tiny little mark that so few know how to properly use in a sentence to begin with.

1 comment:

  1. Your website is really cool and this is a great inspiring article. Thank you so much.