By Grace King, Mt. Pleasant News
As a tattoo artist, Rebecca Eldredge sees a lot of self-harm scars.
Rebecca believes tattoos can help her clients see something beautiful come from an ugly memory. ?Turn your pain into art kind of thing,? she said.
That?s why in recognition of World Suicide Prevention Day on Monday, Sept. 10, Rebecca announced Big Dog Tattoos would be lowering their minimum tattoo fee for discounted semicolon tattoos, representing a pause in a sentence, not the end of one.
?We might not know them personally, but the world would still not be the same without them here,? Rebecca explained as why she decided to get Big Dog on board with the Semicolon Project this year. ?Suicide is permanent. Suicide is not something that can be covered up,? she wrote on Big Dog Tattoos Facebook page.
Project Semicolon is a mental health awareness campaign, launched by Amy Bleuel in 2015, that encourages people to get semicolon tattoos as a way to represent and support those dealing with mental illness or the loss of someone from suicide.
Rebecca herself knows what it feels like to deal with bouts of depression, something she struggled with when she was younger. Although people often come into the shop ashamed of their scars, she doesn?t want them to feel that way. It?s a vulnerable thing to be a part of, covering up someone?s scars.
?We tell people we?re armchair therapists,? Michael Eldredge, Big Dog Tattoo artist and Rebecca?s husband, said. ?I hear all sorts of stories when I?m tattooing. Everybody has their story, and I?m helping them through it in some subtle way. Mostly what I?m concerned about is making sure I do a really good job at what I do.?
Rebecca?s idea to have a discount on semicolon tattoos this week began with one resilient sunflower growing in a crack in the driveway of her house.
She planted the sunflowers two years ago and a rogue seed finally took root this year. ?It should not have been growing there, but it kept growing,? Rebecca said.
Michael jokes that the sunflower is ?Rebecca?s Flower,? because it?s stubborn and keeps growing and thriving even though it shouldn?t be.
?I sat down and drew a sunflower and thought about turning it into a semicolon if I just put a leaf below it,? Rebecca said. ?That?s where the idea came from to do this.?
Whenever Rebecca herself goes through what she considers a ?life-changing? event, she gets a butterfly tattoo. Each one represents something she survived or overcame.
Big Dog Tattoos is continuing their Project Semicolon promotion through Saturday, Sept. 15.