One of the descriptors of this blog is, “Skulls.” It’s meant kind of tongue in cheek but kind of not. I get asked all the time, “What’s the deal with you and skulls?” The answer is a pretty simple one.
Basically, the skulls I have around and tattooed on me are a reminder of how short life is and that we can all go at any moment. Yes, that’s an old cliché, and sometimes clichés are hard to pay attention to because they are often so trite. So in my twisted psyche, it only makes sense to have this one ever present.
Interestingly, I didn’t get my first skull tattoo until 2009, which was right around when I fully grasped just how quickly life can be snatched away from the young without prejudice. Since then, I’ve been working on a piece ever so slowly on my lower left leg made up of multiple shulls that showcases my feelings. Part of what’s taking so long is wanting each skull to mean something. A few more than others, but they all have a connection to my past, present or hopes for the future.
Last weekend, I got my most visible tattoo to date, and, of course, it involves a skull. It’s much more than just a skull tatt though, it’s a symbolization of me taking part – and committing to – Project Semicolon. Their mission statement is as follows:
“Within the belief that suicide is generally preventable, the mission of Project Semicolon is to help reduce the incidents of suicide in the world through connected community and greater access to information and resources. We believe that suicide prevention is the collective responsibility of each and every person on the planet.”
The mantra of Project Semicolon is, “Your story isn’t over yet.” It’s meant to symbolize those difficult times in life when there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel, but how it’s only temporary; a pause before the inevitable shift – not end – comes to pass.
The majority of people who get the semicolon ink have it on or near their wrist. Big, small, it doesn’t matter. And to the top part, some improvise. I’ve seen cats. I’ve seen butterflies. I’ve seen crosses. And so on.
I designed and did a skull. It’s still healing in the above pic, but that’s pretty much it. Wanted the skull to be as round as possible so it worked with the theme. Here’s what I wrote when I posted it to Instagram the day after I got it:
“September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day. To continue my unending support in raising awareness for suicide prevention, I have joined Project Semicolon. The tattoo I’ve just gotten – and designed with my own (predictable) skull spin on it – symbolizes that no matter how hard it gets, your story isn’t over. My story isn’t over. There will be another day. The sun will set. The moon will rise. This is also the first tattoo I have gotten that will be visible on a daily basis to the public. I take that seriously. And I wear it proudly.”
It means quite a bit, I hope that’s obvious. I’ve been planning on getting it for about a year and a half now, and the eve of World Suicide Prevention Day seemed like the best time by far.
To be frank, it’s pretty weird to see a tattoo so clear and present. I see the other ones when my shirt is off or if my lower leg is exposed. This is there all the time. It’s going to take some getting used to.
I look forward to it.
More stories about skulls to come.
[Let me take a quick moment to thank the talented Fred Smith, former member of the legendary Z-Boys Alva Team back in 80s-era of skateboarding who now does tattoos. He the artist who did this, and he’s still a badass motherfucker.]