I recently got a semicolon tattoo, in support of the Semicolon Project, but also in support myself. Basically, the idea of getting a semicolon is that in the english language, a semicolon can be used in place of a period if there are 2 similar clauses in sentences that follow each other. In that same way, in life, you can choose to keep going with your story, even when life kicks your ribs so hard you can barely breathe.
I was proud of my tattoo the day I got it, and then started to feel embarrassed. There are certain parts of my emotional journey through life that are difficult for me to share with others, and my tattoo is on my wrist. That was until a small experience I had today that reminded me why I felt so adamant about getting it first place.
I was leaving Panda Express (see? That's how motivated I am right now. haha!) I saw a beautiful blonde in a Jeep. As she moved her arm to place it on the steering wheel, it was covered in self harm injuries. Her entire forearm. My stomach dropped, and I got in my car. I started to sob. I wished with my whole heart I could wrap my arms around her and tell her things really do get better. No matter how dark things seem right now.
It hit me so hard because I used to self harm. I know the desperation that is felt in that moment. I understand the sadness, anxiety, and regret that is the maddening self harm cycle. I still deal with the shame associated with my old scars. Hell, last summer I spent hundreds of dollars getting chemical peels on the scars to make them disappear, only to have the scar tissue get damaged and become noticeable again after I started climbing.
I wished everyday during that time that somehow I would know I would be okay in the end. I didn't really believe anyone understood what I was experiencing. I had incredible parents that loved me to the ends of the earth. I was a talented artist and musician. I just couldn't process my feelings.
If I could meet little teenage Alex now, I would wrap my arms around her, and tell her things get so much sweeter.
Ultimately, that is why I got my semicolon tattoo. I have grown so much in just a few years. However, my journey will always be part of who I am, and how I got to where I am. I am proud of the strength that I have now. I'm grateful I understand how much I am loved. I have a beautiful family, husband, and life.
I love you all very much. If you are hurting yourself, please seek help. No one is judging your journey. You are so brave.