Semicolon Tattoos – A Symbol of Strength and Continuation


In the world of tattoos, few designs carry as much emotional weight and personal significance as the semicolon tattoos. For many, this small punctuation mark is more than just a symbol; it’s a powerful reminder of resilience, mental health awareness, and the choice to continue life’s journey despite challenges. Whether you’re considering a semicolon tattoo for yourself or curious about its meaning, this guide will provide everything you need to know about this impactful design.

History and Meaning

The semicolon tattoos traces its origins to Project Semicolon, a movement founded in 2013 by Amy Bleuel. Amy created the project to honor her father, whom she lost to suicide, and to provide hope and love to those struggling with mental health issues, depression, and suicidal thoughts. In writing, a semicolon signifies a pause between two independent clauses, suggesting that the sentence could have ended but didn’t. This metaphor resonates deeply with those who have battled mental health issues, symbolizing their decision to keep going despite life’s difficulties.

Personal Stories and Testimonials

Real-life Examples:

Many individuals who sport a semicolon tattoo do so to commemorate their personal battles and victories over mental health struggles. For example, Sarah, a 28-year-old teacher, got her semicolon tattoo on her wrist to remind herself daily of her strength and the support system around her.


“I got my semicolon tattoo after surviving a particularly dark period in my life. It serves as a daily reminder that my story isn’t over, and I have the strength to continue,” says John, a 35-year-old graphic designer.

Semicolon Tattoos Design & Ideas

Variety of Designs:

Semicolon tattoos come in numerous styles and designs, each as unique as the individual wearing it. Some prefer a simple, minimalist black semicolon, while others opt for more elaborate designs incorporating elements like flowers, butterflies, or hearts, symbolizing rebirth and hope.

Placement Options:

Popular placements for semicolon tattoos include the wrist, behind the ear, on the ankle, or along the collarbone. Each placement can carry its own significance; for instance, a wrist tattoo is highly visible, offering a constant reminder of strength, while a tattoo behind the ear might be a more personal symbol of resilience.

Choosing the Right Tattoo Artist

Research Tips:

Choosing the right tattoo artist is crucial for both the aesthetic quality and the emotional significance of your semicolon tattoo. Look for artists with strong portfolios, particularly those who specialize in fine line work or small, detailed tattoos. Reading reviews and seeking recommendations can also help ensure you find a reputable artist.


Scheduling a consultation allows you to discuss your design ideas, placement, and any concerns with the tattoo artist. This step is essential for feeling comfortable and confident in your decision.

Semicolon Tattoos Care and Maintenance

Tattoo Aftercare:

Proper aftercare is vital for the healing process and the longevity of your tattoo. Keep the tattoo clean by washing it gently with mild soap and water, and apply a thin layer of fragrance-free moisturizer. Avoid exposing the tattoo to direct sunlight and submerging it in water during the healing period.

Long-term Care:

To keep your tattoo looking vibrant over time, protect it from excessive sun exposure and avoid using harsh skincare products on the area. Regular moisturizing and occasional touch-ups by your tattoo artist can help maintain its appearance.

Addressing Concerns and Misconceptions

Pain and Healing:

The pain of getting a tattoo varies depending on the placement and individual pain tolerance, but many people find the discomfort manageable. Healing times can range from a few weeks to a couple of months, during which it’s important to follow aftercare instructions carefully.

Stigma and Acceptance:

While tattoos were once stigmatized, perceptions are rapidly changing. Semicolon tattoos, in particular, are often seen as symbols of strength and advocacy for mental health awareness. Sharing the story behind your tattoo can help break down misconceptions and foster understanding.

Frequently Asked Questions About Semicolon Tattoos

What is the meaning behind a semicolon tattoo?

A semicolon tattoo symbolizes mental health struggles and the decision to continue living despite difficulties. It originates from Project Semicolon, a movement that uses the semicolon as a metaphor for a pause in a sentence, representing a pause in life rather than an end.

Who started the semicolon tattoo movement?

The semicolon tattoo movement was started by Amy Bleuel in 2013 through Project Semicolon. She created the project to honor her father, who died by suicide, and to offer hope and support to those battling mental health issues.

Where are common places to get a semicolon tattoo?

Common placements for semicolon tattoos include the wrist, behind the ear, ankle, collarbone, and fingers. Each location can hold personal significance and varies in visibility based on personal preference.

Do semicolon tattoos have to be a specific design?

No, semicolon tattoos can vary widely in design. While some people prefer a simple, minimalist semicolon, others incorporate additional elements like flowers, butterflies, hearts, or inspirational quotes. The design can be customized to reflect personal meaning and style.

How do I choose a good tattoo artist for my semicolon tattoo?

To choose a good tattoo artist, research artists who specialize in fine line work or small, detailed tattoos. Look at their portfolios, read reviews, and seek recommendations. Scheduling a consultation can help you discuss your design and any concerns, ensuring you feel comfortable with the artist.

Does getting a semicolon tattoo hurt?

The pain of getting a tattoo varies depending on the placement and individual pain tolerance. Generally, tattoos on areas with less flesh, like the wrist or collarbone, may be more painful. However, most people find the pain manageable and worth the meaningful result.

What should I do to care for my new semicolon tattoo?

Proper aftercare is essential for healing. Keep the tattoo clean with mild soap and water, apply a fragrance-free moisturizer, and avoid direct sunlight and submerging the tattoo in water. Follow your tattoo artist’s aftercare instructions closely to ensure proper healing.

How long does it take for a semicolon tattoo to heal?

Healing times can vary but generally take a few weeks to a couple of months. During this time, it’s important to follow aftercare instructions and avoid activities that could irritate the tattoo.

Will my semicolon tattoo fade over time?

All tattoos can fade over time, especially if exposed to sunlight or not properly cared for. To maintain your tattoo’s appearance, protect it from excessive sun exposure, moisturize regularly, and consider touch-ups if necessary.

Is there any stigma associated with semicolon tattoos?

While tattoos were once stigmatized, societal perceptions are changing. Semicolon tattoos, in particular, are often seen as symbols of strength and mental health advocacy. Sharing the story behind your tattoo can help break down misconceptions and promote understanding.

Can anyone get a semicolon tattoo, or is it reserved for those with mental health struggles?

Anyone can get a semicolon tattoo. While it holds special significance for those who have experienced mental health struggles, it can also be a symbol of support, solidarity, and raising awareness for mental health issues.

Are there any famous people with semicolon tattoos?

Yes, several celebrities and public figures have semicolon tattoos, including musicians, actors, and influencers who have shared their personal stories and advocacy for mental health awareness. Their tattoos often inspire fans and contribute to the broader conversation on mental health.


Considering a semicolon tattoo is a deeply personal decision, but for many, it serves as a powerful emblem of survival, hope, and the ongoing journey of life. If you’re thinking about getting one, remember that your story is unique, and your tattoo is a testament to your strength and resilience.

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