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What Does a Semicolon Tattoo Mean?

Why the Semicolon Tattoo Is So Important to 13 Reasons Why

In addition to the fact that Polaroids are the new cassette tapes on 13 Reasons Why, we know that Alex (Miles Heizer) will be coming back, aka he did not die from that gunshot. We also know that Hannah's story (Katherine Langford) isn't exactly over, and there will be a big trial that the town isn't exactly happy about.

What we also know is that Clay (Dylan Minnette) is going to get a semicolon tattoo — or at least attempt to do so — and there is a deeper meaning behind it. In fact, there is a special meaning behind anyone getting a semicolon tattoo.

While Clay's tattoo, which we see happening in the beginning of season two, is a fictional tattoo, a few members of the cast of 13 Reasons Why along with executive producer Selena Gomez have actually gotten a semicolon tattoo in real life — and it all links back to the special meaning we've been hinting at.

Since a semicolon is a pause in a sentence, as opposed to the end of a sentence, the symbol has come to be linked with mental health awareness. Project Semicolon was started by Amy Bleuel to help her mental health awareness campaign, and it spread like wildfire.

Project Semicolon has encouraged people to draw — or get tattoos — on their bodies of a semicolon to represent support for those dealing with mental illness and suicide. "A semicolon 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," Project Semicolon's website reads.

Since 13 Reasons Why's story shows the truth, both good and bad, about suicide and how it affects everyone near and dear to the person who actually commits the act, it makes sense that the show would have Clay getting a tattoo in Hannah's honour.

When Tommy Dorfman (who plays Ryan Shaver) got his semicolon tattoo with Gomez and fellow cast-mate Alisha Boe (who plays Jessica Davis), he shared what it meant to the three stars, and it's clear Project Semicolon and suicide awareness was at the heart of it.

"The ; symbol stands for an end of one thought and a beginning of another. Instead of a period, authors use the semicolon to continue a sentence. For us, it means a beginning of another chapter in life, in lieu of ending your life," he captioned a photo on Instagram in 2017.

After telling his own story of struggling with addiction and depression, Tommy added a call to action in his post. "Ask for help. Start a new chapter with the support of others," he wrote.

The semicolon tattoo might not be real on 13 Reasons Why — and we don't know if Clay successfully gets his done — but the meaning is powerful and real. It is about continuing your story even if you want to end it and not giving into the suicidal thoughts or rough times. It's moving and something to take note of, just like the Netflix series itself.

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