Today I got my first tattoo.
Why did I select a semicolon for my first tattoo? They’ve always been my favorite punctuation, ever since an English teacher showed me how to use them properly. It felt like esoteric knowledge. It felt like being let into a secret club of writers and I’ve never really stopped writing.
My writer friend Steven Brust also has a semi-colon tattoo, and after all we shared together it felt fitting to have matching body art. I look forward to getting a photo of both our semicolons next time he visits Austin.
Symbolically, I also like the what the semicolon represents — bringing two sentences together or joining disparate ideas. It might be the least used and most misunderstood of the common punctuation marks too, and I also like that. The same teacher who told me about how to use them also quipped that people are so afraid of the semicolon that you could use one to fend off muggers.
Since deciding that this would be my first tattoo, I also learned about The Semicolon Project. Though I’ve never been suicidal, I’ve dealt with debilitating depression and helped loved ones and family through their own suicide attempts. It’s not why I got this tattoo, but I am happy to display the project’s symbol.
And as if that weren’t enough, it turns out that today is coincidentally National Punctuation Day. I’d link you to the official homepage for the day, but people apparently love punctuation too much and it’s crashed.
Photos by Maryann Philbrook.