By Sonia Shrestha


Recently, I came across the semicolon tattoo trend that was started by Project Semicolon.

The project describes itself as a “faith-based non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and love to those who are struggling with depression, suicide, addiction and self injury.”

The semicolon trend was described on the project’s website: “a semicolon is used when an author could have chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life.”

The description looked perfect to me; this was something I could absolutely relate to.

I firmly believe that we are all the writers of our stories—we are the choosers.

The project was initially started to provide stability to people with depression, anxiety, addiction and suicidal tendencies. People with mental illnesses were encouraged to get a semicolon tattoo on their wrists or on any other part of their bodies. This trend is now becoming a global phenomenon with thousands getting permanent or temporary semicolon tattoos.

I got a temporary one myself, not because I have serious depression or suicidal tendencies but because I firmly believe in the idea of not giving up. I firmly believe in the idea that we are our own creators, we write our own destinies and we have to carry on—without losing faith in ourselves.

For me, the semicolon tattoo meant not giving up on my dreams and on people I love the most; it meant continuing on the path I had chosen without losing faith in myself. The journey is not easy, it never has been but I know; it will all be worth it. This will make me happy.

Our life is a huge rollercoaster, where nothing remains constant or goes in the same direction. There are difficulties, crazy times and forked paths—but we decide what is best for us. The story we weave is a giant one, with too many twists and one never ending plot. We can never be sure of what the next moment will bring, during times like these it is important not to lose hope and to continue on the path that we think is the best for us.

On moments when we feel like giving up is when we need a semicolon. Instead of using a full stop to end the journey, we should use a semicolon to write a new story.

Instead of saying, “I cannot do this any longer, I have to stop,” tell yourself, “this is not working out but maybe there is a way out of all this, maybe I can find an alternative. I should not stop.”

Having a positive outlook on life always helps—always. To share my own personal experience, a few years back, I underwent emotional turmoil, where I was left with two options—either to let it destroy me in the worst way possible or to find a way out and let it teach me a lifelong lesson. I chose the latter; I still shudder at the thought of what would have happened to me had I let it seep over and break me in the process.

Maybe, I am not too sure about what my future holds, I do not know whether or not the path I am following is correct.

I do not know whether the ruins that I am will ever be fully healed or not; I do not know whether the confusion that consumes a majority of my mind will clear or not…but there is one thing I know—I am not giving up.

No matter what I face, I will try to conquer it—I will get through. There is no way I will let fear win over me. I will always use a semicolon and continue my story because I am the writer of my life.

This is for each one of you—you are the writers of your lives. Create the best story for yourself and do not worry about the troubled times, because after all, which story is free of poison? But never forget that every twist can be straightened, and every path can be treaded.

While writing, there is only one line coming to my mind. A few months ago I read a beautiful piece by Agha Shahid Ali where he had written, “Mad heart, be brave.” 

This line is so appropriate.

This is for everyone. You are all brave—just continue this story of yours and make it beautiful—just how you want it.

And remember, use a semicolon instead of a full stop. Let your semicolons never end.


Sonia ShresthaSonia Shrestha is a literature student who is on a journey to know herself, passionate about reading and writing. A quote-aholic (totally addicted to quotes), she loves to find her own meanings in words and loves deep and meaningful conversations. A good book and comfortable surrounding is all she needs.


Photo: provided by author

Editor: Dana Gornall