World Semicolon Day: The April 16 is the World Day semicolon (dt World Day of the semicolon or:. International Day of the semicolon) devoted to suicide prevention. Even if the name of this day of action suggests an orthographic context, today it is more about the symbolic meaning of this punctuation mark. Reason enough to pay tribute to this occasion with its own contribution to the calendar of curious holidays from all over the world and to tell its story below. What is it about?
Who started World Semicolon Day?
In contrast to many of the other celebrations and action days gathered here, the origins of World Semicolon Day are relatively well documented. The initiative for this day of action goes back to the American Amy Bleuel and the non-profit initiative Project Semicolon, which she co-founded in 2013. Bleuel had launched this day of action to commemorate her father who was killed by suicide (see also the list of further links below).
Why does World Semicolon Day fall on April 16?
In contrast, in the course of the research for this article, I could not find out why Bleuel chose April 16 as the date for World Semicolon Day. It remains unclear whether this date refers to the day of your father’s death or whether it has a symbolic reference to the semicolon. However, the first variant (unfortunately) seems to me to be much more likely.
Accordingly, a substantive connection direct can here to also committed today the International Day of voice (World Voice Day Engl.), The Come-to-work-day in Pajamas (Wear Pajamas to Work Day Engl.) Or the US eggs -Benedict Day (English National Eggs Benedict Day) or the Day of the Orchid (English National Orchid Day) can be categorically excluded.
World Semicolon Day and the symbolic meaning of the semicolon
As a punctuation mark, the semicolon primarily stands for a mental interruption of a sentence without actually ending it. In the context of today’s World Semicolon Day, this also results in the leitmotiv motto My story isn’t over. A metaphorical transfer, so to speak, of this grammatical function of the punctuation mark, which should say: You are the author of your life and you decide not to end your life – precisely this one sentence.
In this respect, the semicolon is also a sign of hope, which also explains why many affected people wear this punctuation mark in the form of a tattoo on their body (see also the list of related links below).
Goals and Intention: What is World Semicolon Day about?
The previous remarks already indicated it in principle, but in order to clarify it again here. The main intention of the World Day of the Semicolon – and thus also of the Project Semicolon – aims to help people who suffer from mental illnesses, to act preventively on those at risk of suicide and, of course, to create public awareness of this problem and the associated prejudices. Insofar as the World Day semicolon is more likely in direct thematic relationship to the Australian RU OK Day on each second Thursday in September as the US Day of punctuation (Engl. National Punctuation Day) on 24 September.
So much for the background to this day of action, but it should not be concealed that Amy Bleuel committed suicide on March 23, 2017. 🙁 Rest in peace.
In this sense: Be careful and take care of one another. Whether in the United States, Germany, India or anywhere else in the world. 🙂
World Semicolon Day Amy Bleuel Quotes
“A semicolon is used when an author chooses not to end a sentence. We are saying you are the author and the sentence is your life and you are choosing to continue. The best way to put the conception of the semicolon was that it was conceived in a perfect storm scenario.”
“At the age of 13 to 18, to go away to a girl’s prison and during that time experiencing brutal self-harm, I would stop at nothing to destroy myself. I would beat my head against the wall until I bled. I would rip out my hair and use it to strangle myself. I bit myself. I friction burned myself with my own skin—whatever I could do to harm myself. That’s what I did for five years. ”
“At the age of 13, I was raped for the first time and then shortly after, the blame was placed on me for a hit list and bomb threat that took place at my middle school right after Columbine. So, I went away into the system from the age of 13 to the age of 18, where I struggled with more self-injury and suicide attempts. I saw the reality of untreated mental illness in the system and I saw how people would abuse themselves, stop at nothing to try and take their lives, and even saw suicides happen before my eyes at that young age.”
“Faith for me plays big around the aspect of love and hope. I have had the opportunity to have people come into my life and love me with a Christ like love. Through that love I am empowered to continue my story and spread that same love to others. To have faith in something bigger than yourself allows you to keep striving for something more, something bigger.”
“Growing up for me I experienced some great pain, from abuse, to rape, to even the loss of my own father to suicide. Not only did I already struggle with my own mental illness, but to have these experiences it further my depression to thoughts and attempts of suicide.”
“Hope says you belong. Just knowing that there is something bigger out there that has a light and actually says that we’re worth it, says that we belong, just having that word hope in the sense that you belong is powerful. It’s simple, yet so powerful.”
“I just want to say to those struggling, that you need to remember your light. Because if you look back to the times you have struggled before, you will remember that a light came and you know that it will come again.”
“I saw the darkest of dark and that’s what I grew up around. ”
“I was an abused, angry kid who broke a lot of laws and didn’t really care. I lashed out. I was emotionally disturbed.”
“Mental health is a taboo subject. No one wants to talk about something that they can’t see, thus can’t understand. People have this misconception about suicide because society has portrayed to them this corrupt concept thus they believe it. If we change the conversation we can change the way people look at it and address it.”
“My father was a great man. He loved unconditionally. He gave of himself endlessly. Through out his life my father struggled with depression and thoughts of suicide. I was not aware at the time though that he was struggling, as the last time I saw him I was eight years old.”
“My story really starts at the age of six. My parents divorced at the age of 4, but my story really starts at six and it starts in a dark, brutal place—being abused by my stepmother for two years, being beaten with 2x4s, being told I was a devil’s child and that I didn’t deserve to live. Being locked into a dark cage outside in the desert heat of Arizona and just being treated inhumanely. I wasn’t human. I wasn’t worthy of the life I lived. I wasn’t worthy of the time and love that I deserved and that’s what I knew for two years. To find that hope, to continue on in that time, I can’t say I really had memories of that happening because I was so young and didn’t know what hope was.”
“Really from a young age, my story was darkness, pain, self-injury, suicide attempts and loss. I spent my adolescent years not knowing who I was, struggling with mental illness, struggling with self-destruction, rage, and all the other things that are part of mental illness and part of people who have been abused.”
“Sharing my story has been not only healing for others but healing for myself. And I’ve been able to just create something more because I didn’t want people to feel the pain I felt losing my father and the pain I felt struggling with my own depression and attempting to take my own life.”
“There’s hope. There’s love. Your story matters. Your story is worth it. ”