Thursday, October 6, 2016

Lamppost Tattoo

Eliza Sanders is a writer for Corporate and Foundation Giving at The Field Museum.

Here is her tattoo tale:

I got this tattoo at the end of a crazy year. In 2015, I finished a Ph.D. in English and moved in with a family friend in Chicago rather than attempting the crushing academic job market. I wanted to be able to choose the city I lived in, and to have more structure in my daily life…but among my university colleagues, I was a pioneer. Before that move, the largest town I’d ever lived in was Iowa City, and I’d never had a 9-5, non-academic job for more than a summer. It was a huge leap, but within a month I had found an apartment (in the same building as a brother I’d recently discovered – long story) and a job working as a grant writer at The Field Museum. It was a complete transition into a new life.

This image is taken from the original illustration of the lamppost in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. It’s an object that marks a transitional point from one world into another. It also represents my scholarly identity, since I studied the ways that religion has influenced science fiction and fantasy literature. It reminds me of my childhood reading experiences. Most importantly, though, the lamppost is a symbol of light in dark places, and of hope. I got this tattoo out of an incredible feeling of gratitude that I had leapt into the unknown and been caught and set down safely – by God, by my new city, by all the people who selflessly helped me get to where I am.

The Field Museum's Tattoo exhibition, opening October 21, 2016 explores how and why people have been marking their skin as a means of expression for more than 5,000 years. Share your tattoo stories on Instagram and Twitter using #TattooFM, and your story may be featured in the exhibition or on the Tattoo website.  

Want to share your own story and tattoo?
Email Beth: bredmondjones (at) sdnhm (dot) org or Paul: info (at) orselli (dot) net.