It is officially the middle of my vacation, and my family and I are enjoying the long lazy days on the beach I would also like to point out that with so much family time I may require a vacation from my vacation – but that’s a topic for another blog. In the last decade or so there has huge surge in the number of people who are choosing to decorate their bodies with tattoos, and no where is this more apparent than at the beach. A practise which was once relegated by mainstream society to criminals, and social outcasts has now become not only acceptable, but desirable. Tattooing or inking, has become an outlet for expressing one’s originality, representing a milestone, a proud moment, or a hardship which has been conquered. The other day I noticed a woman sitting in front of me on the beach, with a lovely multi colored butterfly at the nape of her neck; upon closer inspection I noticed the body of the butterfly was a semi colon. I quietly smiled to myself knowing that this particular tattoo held a deeper meaning, representing something more than a clever and charming twist on a punctuation mark. The tattoo is part of a movement known as the Semicolon Movement. When I started blogging for the Oasis Movement I stumbled upon this movement and the mission statement found on their homepage had a profound effect on me when I read it;
“A semi-colon is used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but
chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life.”
The Semicolon Tattoo Project is a small part of this larger movement; by choosing the semicolon as a tattoo (in any variation) you are uniting yourself with others who are struggling with mental illness and addiction. The tattoo is a visible sign that one must never lose hope and that they are never alone,
In Canada alone, one in five Canadians experience or will experience, mental illness or addiction, and the numbers show that this one in five will more likely than not, occur between the ages of 15 and 24. The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) maintains that those who suffer from mental illnesses are twice as likely to suffer from substance abuse furthermore, those with addiction issues are three times more likely to suffer from mental illness. It is evident that there is an undeniable relationship between mental illness and addictions. Unfortunately, very few get the attention and the help they need largely because of the social stigma attached to mental illness and addiction.
It is sad to see that while our society has evolved and has become accepting in other areas we remain quite backward in the area of mental illness and addiction, most of us believing that these are chosen destructive behaviours. It has been proven time and time again, that addiction and mental illness are diseases very much like high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer and yet, sufferers are hesitant to tell their friends, family, and co-workers that they are struggling with these issues. This not only takes a toll on the sufferer but on our society as a whole. Unchecked addiction and mental illness, carries a greater monetary burden on society than any other disease, infectious or otherwise. Mental illness costs Canadians, $51 billion a year in health costs and lost productivity; while in Ontario alone alcohol related addiction costs $5.3 billion. These numbers are staggering, and can be easily decreased when we as a society remove the stigma attached to mental illness and addiction.
There is hope however with movements such as the Semicolon Tattoo Project; if tattoos which were once associated with the lowest elements of society can evolve and be accepted then, perhaps the acceptance of mental illness and addiction is not too far away.
If you are ready to share your story we are here to listen email us at www.clothingbank.ca
Oasis Movement ;