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The Semicolon Project: My Thoughts On What It Means To Me

Updated on June 24, 2016
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A Brilliant Project and Recognition for Mental Illness

Introducing The Semicolon Project

Today, I thought I would write a hub about the Semicolon Project. I remember coming across this project online a few months back. I noticed a picture of a semicolon tattoo someone had placed behind their ear, and thought; that’s kind of cute! Initially, I liked it because, well, obviously, the writing part of my personality. I use the semicolon quite often. Probably more than I’m supposed to. It is in every probability that it was the reason it caught my attention. However, it was following the link to the article attached to that photo that I decided I wanted one of those tattoos even more.


My Niece Kayla and Her Half Sleeve Tattoo

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Tattoo or Not To Tattoo?

We all know in the writing field, that a semicolon represents a sentence we could have ended, but instead continued. I think I use it more often than I should, like I stated before, but hey, no one’s perfect, not even in the writing world. It thus brings me to how this little dot and comma have come to represent the mental illness that I, myself, have struggled with all my life; depression, and suicide awareness prevention. Isn’t that just a great concept? I mean, I thought it was brilliant. To me, it meant to keep going, like we continue our sentences. It meant, to me, a pause for a second, but deciding eventually to continue our journey; and indeed, that is what the project is about. I have to say I want the tattoo. However, I will probably not get one for fear I would regret ink on my body at an old age. I’m not saying tattoos aren’t art. I think a lot of tattoos are lovely; my niece has half sleeves and is covered in them. Which is kind of funny because she really doesn’t suit the image except for the fact she is in the military. I know I sound like I’m judging a certain type of person. I apologize for that, but I’ve been around this young lady all her life. She was a friggin (is friggin in the dictionary) beauty queen for heaven’s sake (laughing). Anyway, continuing on; I will not be getting the tattoo, but I am going to buy a necklace with a semicolon charm, and I can’t wait.

Thanks To A Courageous Woman; Amy Bleuel

Let’s talk about the brilliant young lady who got all this started. Amy Bleuel is the founder of Semicolon Day. She started it to bring awareness to suicide by telling the story of her own experience. Amy’s Dad had committed suicide, and Amy decided she wanted to reach out to others who struggled with bipolar and depression. She wanted to share some confidence with others who may be going through similar situations with family members or going through this struggle themselves. So, this was her stamp on making a difference. Amy Bleuel, you are an inspiration and a brilliant human being. I know I thank you for sharing and caring for and with so many others who fight a daily, silent battle to remain in this game of life. I salute your courageous endeavor. Thank You!


Like anything else I talk about here; I try to keep it short and sweet, and then put a period at the end of the conversation by writing a poem or a few poems that you can relate to in a more emotional way. Most of my poems are my own experience on the subject, and these latest poems are no exceptions to my rule in that way. They are poured out from the heart and soul of me.

Freedom Fighter

I want to be freed from

wanting what others have

found.


I want to be happy without

the envy of what I will

never have.


Love and partnership are

what we all seem to need,

but what happens to us when

we don’t find this deep

release?


Do not judge us, for it is

not our fault; there are

many of us walking this

Earth.


We hide our tears with a simple

smile, fighting life with a

warrior's pride.


Our eyes see what

most of you take for granted,

It’s our way of keeping

our emotions together.

A Fight For Life

No, my story isn’t done,

So don’t get upset when

I say some days I wish it

was.


I shouldn’t have woken

out of bed today.

I wish I could go backward

to yesterday.


However, today I find

myself back in the struggle.

Back in the middle of a

Lonely bubble.


There are times I find

strength to carry on,

as if I’m a graceful

melody in a beautiful

song.


Though, there are times

I don’t feel so at ease,

those are the times hard

to explain;


I’ve become a hidden

symbol of unseen pain.

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We Have A Purpose Here

The differences between us

and you are; you were picked

to be soldiers of common

practice, and we were placed

here to be soldiers of

desolation.


He allows us to feel extreme

pain, in hopes we use it to

teach beauty that’s not in

vain.


So keep strong all you who

relate to my words. We

are here to fight. We are

here to be heard.

What are your thoughts on this hub?

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 15 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Fascinating. I've never heard of this project, but I'm for anything that raises awareness about mental illness. Thank you for passing this along.

    • Missy Smith profile image
      Author

      Missy Smith 15 months ago from Florida

      Thanks Bill. I love the concept of this. It's a little sign that reminds the ones that fight for their life everyday, and in ways that no one gets but them, that tomorrow is a new day. It's a little piece of motivation that people with mental illness do not get from friends and family. Mostly, because people and loved ones think it is something easily controlled. They don't see it as a real illness. They are pushed into suffering in silence because they are misunderstood, which is the most dangerous thing for them, because their pain stays bottled inside. This little sign gives them the drive to live another day, and not to give up. I thought it was inspiring. :)

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 15 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks for sharing this Missy. I am aware of the semicolon Project as my wife suffers from mental illness and has considered getting the tattoo. I think it is a great idea and cause. Good subject for aa hub and excellent poems as always.

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 15 months ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      I've read about the semi-colon project and have seen it posted time and again on FB. Thank you for putting it forward (again). Very interesting indeed.

      Not a big fan of tattoo(ing); don't like needles but I think a necklace (or a ring) with a semicolon charm will be nice. :)

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 15 months ago

      I've heard of the Semicolon Project and have read about it. My sister committed suicide at age 30. She had what I refer to as "our family curse," Hashimoto's disease and was misdiagnosed and put on antidepressants for her depression. Many of us in our family cannot take antidepressants without becoming suicidal, and she was the first, and last I hope, victim of antidepressants. I was never depressed until I had my thyroid removed for Hashimoto's and precancer. Now I know what others go through. I don't think I would get a tatoo at my age either, but it is fine for others. Thank you for writing on this, Missy.

    • Missy Smith profile image
      Author

      Missy Smith 15 months ago from Florida

      So, MizBejabbers, I think your comment is the one I relate to the most. I too have thyroid issues, and I don't think a lot of people know what the effects of having that illness does to a person. I only found out about two years ago that I had it. I had gone to countless doctors, and yes; they all diagnosed me with chronic depression and tried to put me on pills. Here was the problem for me; I knew I had bouts of depression; I had since I was a young girl, but I was always able to control it. I knew it was getting worse though, and it seemed I had a lot of other issues with it now. Finally, I got a correct diagnosis, but I am still in the fight to feel better. I'm trying to work on other things I can do to reverse all the bad things that come along with having hypothyroidism. My doctor only wants to do regular blood tests and keep the levothyroxine flowing, but I am looking for a specialist now who can help me with a plan of living instead of just medicine. Someone who can answer the questions I need answered. I get tired of feeling like this. As far as antidepressants, the doctors gave them to me every single time I saw a new one, but I tossed them every single time. I just did not think I needed those. I knew something more was happening with me. I'm so sorry about the loss of your sister. I certainly have felt the anguish and despair she must have felt at that time. I feel we are kind of connected even more now, MizBejabbers. I know now that you know just what I've been through. Thanks for sharing your story! God Bless You!

    • Missy Smith profile image
      Author

      Missy Smith 15 months ago from Florida

      Hi CrisSp, Facebook is where I also discovered the project. Although it was only months back, and then again, I saw another posting the other day. Before those two times, I was in the dark about this project.

      I remember thinking it was a great way to bring awareness; kind of a classy little tat. However, life got busy and I forgot about it until recently.

      Thanks for stopping by and reading this hub. :)

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 15 months ago

      I have never heard of Semicolon Project before. Thanks for sharing this! Tattoo is something I may never consider. I wonder how can somebody embrace pain in the form of tattoos!

      I loved the lines:

      "We hide our tears with a simple

      smile, fighting life with a

      warrior's pride."

      That's the way to live- not giving up but fighting and marching ahead like a warrior.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 15 months ago

      Thank you, Missy. Your answer makes me cry. I do hope you get the help you need, but it is very elusive. The doctors denied that my sister had a thyroid problem, but a first year med student could have diagnosed her. I did: thinning hair, large eyes, sudden weight gain. But everyone put me down when I said so. She never received any synthroid, just antidepressants. I had tumors on mine before my doctor diagnosed me. He knew my family history but relied on tests, which any thyroid patient knows are unreliable. I almost had cancer. What is wrong with these doctors???

    • Missy Smith profile image
      Author

      Missy Smith 15 months ago from Florida

      Hey Jodah, it is a cute little tattoo. I still think about it, but my niece and others who I know that have tattoos, say it is addicting; you get a little one, then you want another and another. lol. I wouldn't want to get addicted to ink. Although I do think, some tattoos are beautiful artwork.

      Thanks for commenting today. :)

    • Missy Smith profile image
      Author

      Missy Smith 15 months ago from Florida

      I feel your pain with this, MizBejabbers. I mean, it does seem like it is an easy diagnosis for a doctor to make. My goodness, I can just remember my frustration with going to doctor after doctor, because I knew I wasn't feeling right. I felt like I wanted to give up and die. I would exercise and diet, yet more weight would come on. I felt so fatigued sometimes; it took all I had to get out of bed. Every little thing became such a struggle. Then everyone was like; you are depressed. Well Hell, do ya think?! You would get depression too if you felt the way this disease makes you feel. I cannot tell you how wonderful it was just to finally get a real diagnosis. Even though, the struggle to figure out how to live with it still exists, at least I am a little better today. :)

    • Missy Smith profile image
      Author

      Missy Smith 15 months ago from Florida

      Hi Swalia, you always pick the exact verse in my poetry that is my favorite as well. I love to look at dealing with the struggles of life in a warrior's way. After all, it is really the best way to look at it. Anything you can say or do to give yourself the incentive to keep fighting through some heavy struggles that take place in life, I think is a good thing. Thank You!

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 15 months ago from london

      An extremely beautiful Hub, Missy and yes, I was swaying to the music of this rhythmical song.

      You know, you've used this semi-colon so brilliantly! I think that we do this a lot in life. We pause ... probably to renew; to re-group; to regain; to revitalise ...and then the journey carries on. Spiritually speaking, we move in a spiral, meandering here and there ... we are all wayfarers in one form or another.

      I like your choice of the necklace. This was just 'cool.'

      Bi-polar is a big one! Do you know what I do, my Sweet? I am a State Registered Nurse (RN, RGN); Registered Mental Nurse (RMN)

      I have never questioned your value as a poet, but mostly it has the same thread running through it: Despair; loneliness, unworthiness ...while I try to serve, I never believe I'm here for others. I like the feel of the Wind touching; caressing me; taking me where it wishes. How I love to be a servant of Its Will!

      What do you think of using these lines as nightly affirmations?

      "I am here to fight ...to Love my true Self."

      "I am unique! Love wishes me to manifest in a very special way!"

      Perhaps you may know by now. I try to serve; to inspire; to elevate; to reach the Heart ...I have no other motive. When all is said and done, you will continue as best you know. I know this. Love you!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 15 months ago from Shelton

      Interesting Missy..hmm.. but you never fail with your poetry love that portion of this hub bless you

    • Missy Smith profile image
      Author

      Missy Smith 15 months ago from Florida

      I like those affirmations, Manatita. I do believe I'm here to manifest in a different way than others. Obviously so, I'm purely unique and very much misunderstood most of the time. Hey, but it's all good at this point in my life. Most days I've grown to accept the fate of my life as being different. I'm not supposed to be the norm. I can't claim that it has been super easy on me; however, it's been a learning experience, an experience that a lot of people will never have. The question to ask myself in this case is; am I lucky because of this, or am I the unluckiest person because of this? I think a bit of both. I feel I will always miss what others have obtained, what I tried for a long time to achieve; which is a steady career, a loving relationship, and just an all out normal existence. In that way, knowing, I have no one to grow old with, well; it seems a bit unlucky. However, the heartbreaks of this, the sheer fight I've put up to be me no matter what others say behind my back, actually, to know I'm being judged more than others, because I am the odd one out, has taught me a sense of what the genuine feeling of love is, what true caring for others means. In that way, I'm very lucky.

      The song from Kurt Cobain is one I've related to. If you listen to the words, you'll probably giggle remembering that in so many words through our discussions on here, I have told you in a round-a-bout way that, indeed Jesus does not want me for a sunbeam. lol. This is not why he placed me here. I am and will never be a full bottle of sunshine. Even so, I think I can be an inspiration. Like I said in one of the poems, he put some of us here to be his soldiers of desolation, speakers for the different, a symbol that others like me are not alone, there are others like us in the world. We are outcasts, yes, but we are his purposely placed outcasts. And though we may have to fight harder because of that, and we certainly feel lots of sadness at times when we lose our perspective of why; especially when we get lonely, eventually, it's time to wake up and know that answers are waiting for us, but we have to keep moving here. Whatever our purpose on earth, we have to try to grasp our reality and live it before we can go to him for complete answers. For now, we must just believe we have a purpose, and listen to him through our hearts when he gives us clues of what to do. I hope that made sense.

      Thanks, as always Manatita, for sharing your thoughts. : ).

    • Missy Smith profile image
      Author

      Missy Smith 15 months ago from Florida

      Thanks, Frank. It's always nice to hear your comments. My poetry is what I hope readers focus on more than the prose part of the hub. That's mainly just to explain the inspiration for my poetry. :)

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 15 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      This is something new to me; but I like it much. You have explained it so beautifully with the idea of semicolon. Great hub. The poems are too great and inspiring. Sharing it on G+

    • Missy Smith profile image
      Author

      Missy Smith 15 months ago from Florida

      Awesome Venkatachari! I thank you for your support. :)

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 15 months ago from southern USA

      Thank you, Missy, for sharing about the Semicolon Project, which I have never heard of before, but what an amazing project! So cool to bring awareness. My son has a lot of tattoos as do so many nowadays. I do love the necklace though. That would probably be my route to go, especially being I'm no spring chicken.

      Your poetry is always brilliant.

      I thought this was going to be about the proper use of the semicolon ...thank goodness it was not! Hahaha

      Sharing everywhere to help bring awareness

      Peace and blessings

    • Missy Smith profile image
      Author

      Missy Smith 15 months ago from Florida

      Oh goodness no, Faith! lol. I could never teach the proper use of any grammatical sign. I can only hope I, myself, use it in the right way most of the time. :)

      Yes, a lot of people do have tattoos nowadays. I think I'm happy that I never took the chance to get one. I don't really want one now, even though the semicolon one is kind of cute. The necklace will suit me just fine too.

      I'm glad you liked this hub, Faith. Thanks for stopping by.

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