Semi-Colons – Raven Oak


This week is the anniversary of when author Logan L. Masterson killed himself. He was a writer at the beginning of his career and a friend. As someone who also struggles with depression and anxiety, I’d been wanting to do something for quite some time–join the semi-colon project in a permanent way–both to honor him and other friends I’ve lost to depression and suicide, and to honor myself and my journey.

According to the semi-colon project website, the movement uses a semicolon to symbolize it because “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.” As an author, the idea of this holds great meaning for me. I choose my punctuation with care, and I craft my sentences just as carefully.

There are scars on my body that show my history with mental illness, scars from 20+ years ago that feel like a different time and a different me. But when I lose friends to a greatly misunderstood disease, I know that depression is real. It’s here. And it lies better than any devil religion can invent.

It was these thoughts that led me to add another “scar” to my body this week, something to remind me that no matter what is going on in the world, these are just moments, temporary passages in my story that continues to grow and change as I do.

It’s been a long pathway from the me who thought the world would be better off without me in it to the me who is a published author and mental health awareness advocate, but the journey has been one worth taking and one worth surviving.

I chose to add the word ONE to my semi-colon because most stories begin with CHAPTER ONE, and I wanted to remind myself (and others) that every pause and point in a story is the opportunity for something new to begin. This is something I’m trying to remember as I’ve watched others suffer this week with depression.

Sadly, my tattoo has marked the passage of another death as it was reported today that Amy Bleuel, founder of the semi-colon project died today at the age of 31. The cause of death is currently unknown, but either way, 31 is much too young for her story to be over.

As we approach April 1st, the birthday of my late grandmother and of science fiction author Anne McCaffrey, both of which were huge influences on my life, I remember their passing and the passing of so many others, like Logan and Lisa and now Amy. As sad as I am today, as sad as I might be tomorrow, it is just a moment in time.

My story goes on. <3

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