Place item was collected
Point of Discovery/Informant Bio
My name is Alexa Bills. I am 17 years old and am currently attending classes at Utah State University through an early college program at Intech Collegiate High school. I have always lived in Utah, residing in Tremonton for the first 12 years, and North Logan for the rest. I grew up in the LDS church, and have a long family history within it. I, however, no longer affiliate myself with any religious organizations, identifying as agnostic.
I want to get a tattoo. That in of itself is not a problem. The problem is that I come from an LDS family. And they would not be happy with me. People in the church believe that a tattoo is some form of desecration to our bodies, that they are temples. If God wanted us to have pictures on our skin, he would have made us with them. The tattoo I want is a plain black semi colon, I first saw it, in a YouTube video, I honestly can’t remember which one. But since then, I have seen it elsewhere and have learned its meaning. My parents would get as close to killing me as humanely possible, if they saw me with a tattoo. But frankly I don’t give a fuck. I can hide it in a non-visible spot, invest in some damn good foundation with plenty of coverage, or they could accept it.
The Semi Colon tattoo is a part of a movement for mental health awareness. The punctuation mark is used when you can choose to end a sentence but decide not to. The tattoo has a similar meaning. It’s meant to indicate that you have power over yourself and can decide what happens. You can choose to continue your story. It’s also a symbol of comradery amongst those who have suffered from depression. A lot of people have this tattoo, a lot of people have struggled with their mental health. And seeing that, seeing people with similar struggles, people that have survived, can help a great deal. I would usually stray away from popular tattoos, but this one is different.
I won’t go into detail, but I have struggled with depression throughout Highschool. I’m getting over it, but it’s still a daily struggle. I usually wouldn’t write about and publish it. But I want to be more open and complete strangers reading about it doesn’t bother me. I just think that it’s a good message. It’s nice to have a small reminder of your strength and control over yourself. It’s easy to spiral down, in this world. A tattoo that represents your choice to continue, provides an anchor to sanity and control, it’s wonderful, not a desecration.
Dr. Lynne McNeal
Semester and year
G7: Human Traits
Bills, Alexa, "Desecration with a Wonderful Meaning" (2018). USU Student Folklore Fieldwork. Paper 360.