Optimism Tattoos

Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez and the cast of 13 Reasons Why got matching semicolon ( ; ) tattoos in April 2017. She served as one of the executive producers for the Netflix television show, based on the book by Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. It tells the fictional story of a high school student named Hannah Baker who sadly dies by suicide and leaves behind a series of tapes addressed to the people who hurt her explaining where her life went wrong.

The semicolon has become a symbol of suicide prevention through the work of the non-profit organization Project Semicolon. They chose the symbol because it represents a place where a sentence could have stopped but didn’t, making it a fitting metaphor for someone’s life which could have ended in suicide but doesn’t have to. The organization describes itself as a “movement dedicated to presenting hope and love for those who are struggling with mental illness, suicide, addiction and self-injury.” They remind people that things can get better with their slogan “your story is not over.”

Selena’s tattoo is a show of support, letting those who are struggling know that things don’t have to end on a low note. She herself has struggled with anxiety and depression and knows firsthand that things can get better. She is a advocate of therapy, particularly Dialectical Behavior Therapy. “DBT has completely changed my life,” she told Vogue. “I wish more people would talk about therapy.”

In a special Beyond The Reasons episode that plays after the final episode of the show, Selena addresses viewers and encourages them to seek help for their troubles rather than resorting to suicide:

Suicide should never, ever be an option…It’s absolutely treatable. Anxiety is. Depression is. Talk therapy, treatment centers, there’s a million ways that you can find help…There is absolutely nothing wrong with saying that you need help. And if you need help at all you can go to 13reasonswhy.info to find an organization in your area.

The show 13 Reasons Why has come under fire from some critics who allege that it glorifies suicide. The character Hannah Baker could have opened up about her traumas and betrayals and sought counseling instead of taking her own life. However Selena has defended the series for being real and honest about the issues that teenagers today are forced to confront. She fell instantly in love with the “tragically beautiful” story after reading the book and hopes that the show will help people to get the help that they need.

Selena got her tattoo alongside Alisha Boe, who plays Jessica, and Tommy Dorfman, who plays Ryan. They were already planning to get the tattoos on their own, but when Selena heard about their plans she asked to join. Two of the other executive producers, Joy Gorman Wettels and Kristel Laiblin, had gotten semicolon tattoos a week before.

Chloe Ferry

Chloe Ferry has a tattoo of a chicken drumstick on her left middle finger. Even though it’s silly, she explained that the tattoo keeps her optimistic. “The reason a got the chicken tattoo is when ever am down a just think you can get chicken nuggets from macdonalds for 2.99,” she tweeted. (more…)

    Marzia Bisognin

    Marzia got this tattoo on her left forearm in September 2015. The writing, which says “La casa sulla luna” in her native language Italian, means “The house on the moon” in English. It’s a phrase from the book We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson, which has helped Marzia to deal with her social anxiety. The house on the the moon is a metaphor for a feeling of safety. On her blog she explained:

    But this topic brings me to the next tattoo: “La casa sulla luna”, which translated is “The house on the moon”.

    This refers to my social anxiety: once again, you know I struggle with it, and it used to be really really bad. This sentence comes from one of my favourite books, “We Have Always Lived in the Castle”, where the protagonist, after going through a tragedy, can never leave the house without feeling observed and judged by people.

    If you have social anxiety you know that feeling very well: as soon as you leave your safe place, it feels like everybody is staring at you, and you just want to hide from the world.

    In the story, the girl would imagine her safe place in her head (the house on the moon) while being outside, just so that thought could be somewhat comforting to her. And so I tried it myself, I would think about it as well while leaving the house, or when I was in uncomfortable situations, and it helped me greatly.

    That’s why it’s on my body, it’s a constant reminder that I can do it, it’s all in my head, and if I think about positive things instead of letting my dark thoughts come to mind, everything will be fine.


    India Westbrooks

    India Westbrooks had a motivational tattoo on her left bicep saying:
    “she made pain look beautiful she found peace among the chaos. she wore a smile in situations where most would cry she held the weight of the world on her shoulders and never complained. she’s the one with the angel eyes ready to raise hell for those who take her lightly she’s a flower with thorns that have since made her untouchable shes the queen with warrior in her blood”.

    Dej Loaf

    Dej Loaf got this “GOOD VIBES.” tattoo on her right wrist in 2015. It is a reminder to stay positive. “Got it to remind myself every day to keep my good vibes flowing,” she writes.

      Acacia Brinley Clark

      In August 2015 Acacia Brinley got a tattoo on her arm to represent staying positive even when things don’t go as planned. It says “The Show Must Go Wrong” which is a quote from Chris Pratt’s character Andy Dwyer in the television series Parks and Recreation, Acacia’s favorite show.

      She explains: “As most of you would know, I have a very unhealthy obsession with the TV show ‘Parks and Recreation’. That show has made me laugh in the saddest of times for the past 4-5 years. Its always been the thing I turn to and it means the whole world to me. I have never felt this way about another object that isn’t human. So, I took one of my favorite lines and it got it tattooed in a place I will often see it. ‘The show must go wrong.’ Other than being a line from my favorite tv show said by one of my favorite characters, it symbolizes all the hardship I’ve been dealing with for past several years. The line after this one is ‘everything always goes wrong and you just have to deal with it’. Life can be (more than) rough sometimes and you really have to keep pushing through because (forgive me for being cheesy but) things get better and I really wanted to be reminded of that on a consistent basis. If you’re ever looking for a new show to watch, I promise you Park&Rec will not disappoint you. There’s 6 seasons on Netflix! LOVE YOU GUYS!”