I’m (Going To Be) A Mom With Tattoos – Lisa Fillmore


Welcome back to another installment in our new series – I’m A Mom With Tattoos.  In case you have missed the last couple, don’t forget to check them out here.

I’m only slightly bitter about being at work today.  Trying to dull the effects with copious amounts of coffee and the thought that Seth is manning the house alone with all three of them today.  Something I do every afternoon, but somehow I feel sorry for him.  Anyway.

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Today we are meeting Lisa Fillmore who may not be a Mom to her own children yet, but looks after many children each and every day.  Lisa is a teacher and although they get crazy awesome holidays, I’m going to try and not hold that against her 😉  Teaching is no joke and I admire the people that dedicate their lives to educating our little people – I know that trying to get 3 of them to listen is already one of the most frustrating parts of my day, nevermind having to control 23 (or more).  So get your cup of goodness and get ready to be schooled (get it, get it?!)

Your name and blog deets:  Lisa Fillmore. I don’t own a blog. I write my thoughts on paper or hide them in little folders on my PC 😛

Your age: 24

Your Occupation: Grade 3 teacher

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Tell us about your family: I am not a mom but I do spend most of my day surrounded by 32 children who sometimes call me mom by mistake 😛 My husband and I have been married for just over a year now. He is a high school counsellor at a school very near mine. He has two sleeves of tattoos as well as on his legs and ribs. We are the proud parents of two adorable rescue cats and just adopted a dog from TEARS rescue shelter 😀 Very excited!

If you work, tell us a bit more about your working environment – are you regularly in contact with new “clients/public”.  I work in a lovely school that promotes diversity and acceptance of differences among its staff and students. I am however, unfortunately not sure that tattoos always fit into this level of acceptance. It is understandable however, that teachers are required to present themselves professionally and because we meet parents and other professionals on a daily basis, who may not agree with my view on tattoos, I am happy to cover up the majority of them for work. I often have comments from my learners when they see one peeking out and the response is always positive: “Mam, I love your tattoo” or “Mam, my mom has a pretty tattoo like that”. It is always pleasant to notice that the new generation are positive about tattoos and come across as much less judgmental than some of the older generation seem to sometimes be.

Tell us a bit about your tattoo’s, what they are, why you have them, where they are located

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The first tattoo that I got is the name of my dad, Don, on my left wrist. My dad passed away from a sudden heart attack when I was in the middle of my Matric year. This was the most heartbreaking and devastating experience of my life so far. My Dad played a huge role in my life and not a day goes by that I don’t miss him. As I mentioned, this was my first tattoo and I tried to make it feminine and quite “small” as I was still very nervous. The artist told me that to get script tattooed as small as I wanted it was a bad idea, as it would eventually end up looking very smudgy and unreadable. It therefore ended up being a little bit bigger than I had originally intended but with a few added pretty leaf details I was very happy with the end result.

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The second tattoo I have is on my back and is much bigger than the first. It is the trinity sign made up out of bent cherry blossom branches. It represents my faith and belief in the Father, the Son and the Holy spirit. I believe God the Father sent his Son to to die for our sins and his Holy Spirit to dwell in us and to help us to be in relationship with the Father who loves us unconditionally. I believe that God is all three of these and without him my life would be worthless.

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My third tattoo is on my right thigh and is a picture of a vintage gramophone surrounded by roses. Coming out of the gramophone are the lyrics “Fill my heart with gladness, take away my sadness” which come from one of my favourite Van Morrison songs ‘Have I told you lately’. This song is very precious to me because along with it comes the memory of my mom and dad dancing in the lounge. From watching my parents as I grew up I witnessed them go through many difficult struggles but they always overcame them due to their unending love for one another and the fact that they always centred their relationship on God. Even when times were tough I knew that they loved one another with a rare love. A love that forgave and continued and forgave again no matter the circumstances. My husband and I played this song as the start to the first dance at our wedding which makes it extra special. We ended it off with a sudden break in the song and suddenly changed to the dance from the movie ‘Pulp Fiction’ but that is a story for another time 😛

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My fourth tattoo takes up most of my left thigh. It is of a wild goose. This tattoo represents a few different things for me. Most importantly it represents my relationship with Christ. Wild geese migrate every Winter and then return home along the very same path that they came, eventually settling back into the comfort and warmth of their original dwelling place which has yet again turned to Summer. Throughout my l life I have discovered that I have often wandered far from God. The most wonderful part is however, that no matter how far I “wandered” or “migrated” I could always come back home to my place with God where I feel whole again, and know that I am completely loved.

This tattoo also represents my dad in a different way. My dad was a hanglider in his youth and was the first South African to fly a hanglider off of Tygerberg hill. He belonged to a family of risk takers and adventurers. I suffer with anxiety and therefore am not always big on risks as the worry that they entail can send me spiraling into a bit of a mad spin. I am however, learning to face my fears and take more risks as I get older and this tattoo serves as a reminder of that. Geese also always fly in a V formation which is similar to the structure of a hanglider, in fact I think it is almost definitely based on this formation or at least the formation of the geese’s wings when they fly. This tattoo therefore serves as another reminder of my wonderful Dad and of the inspiration that he is to me.

This tattoo also represents my love for nature and the freedom I feel from all anxiety and worry when I am in nature. When I went through a bad depression, nature was my only source of solace.

How old were you when you got your first tattoo?  I was 19

Which tattoo is your favourite and why?  My favourite tattoo is my goose. It is my most recent tattoo and has the most meaning for me. I also feel that it is the most beautiful and the artist that did it is the best and most talented artist that I have been to so far.

Do you plan on getting more?  I would like to get one more tattoo to represent my relationship with my husband. We are planning on getting matching tattoos at some point. This will probably be quite small on my ribs. I have also considered getting my wedding ring tattooed so that underneath my jewelry it will always be there.

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How do your family and friends feel about your tattoo(s)?  My friends are mostly supportive although I have had one say that she thinks tattoos are trashy. Most of my friends have a similar love for tattoos and appreciate that mine have meaning behind them. The friends that don’t agree have enough tact to not say so. My mom is not a fan. She says they are pretty but she wishes they were smaller. She is from the generation that believed that only sailors and woman who worked in brothels had tattoos. She cried when I got my first one. She has now grown accustom to them though 😛 My brother and my husband both have tattoos and my in-laws have never judged me for mine or theirs. My father in law has quite a few tattoos and was the principal and brand manager of a major high school so he is a good example of a more “liberal thinking” member of the older generation.. My husband’s Granny is always interested and has never made a negative comment other than once saying to him “Don’t you think it’s enough now?” haha

What is the general reaction that “the Public” have towards your tattoo’s?  Have you run into any negativity or adversity because of them?  It depends who the public are. Most young people only have positive comments to make. I always find it a bit strange when random strangers stop us in the shops and ask to see our tattoos or try to touch them. I am never sure why it suddenly seems okay to touch a stranger now that they have art on them haha, but I don’t really mind.  (Ed’s note – this is just preparing you for carrying a baby in your tummy – EVERYONE wants to touch it!)

The questions people ALWAYS ask are: “Wasn’t it sore?” “Was it expensive?” “What about when you are old?” – My answer to the last one is always the same: I am not stupid. I have put them in places where they can be easily covered up if need be and when it comes to being old, I will be wrinkly and odd looking anyway and my husband will be right next to me looking just the same 😛

I do find that I often get a lot of negative looks and stares from older people and have been judged a few times by them. A lot of people are surprised to find out that I am a Christian or a teacher.

Any advice for those interested in getting tattooed?  My main advice would be to go to a reputable artist who is well known among other tattooed people (people who’s tattoos you actually LIKE). The easiest way to find a good artist is through the tattoo grape vine.

Make sure that you have thought long and hard about your tattoo and that it is something that has real meaning to you.

Make sure that you go to the artist with some sort of direction to your explanation. You cannot just explain it vaguely to him/her and then expect them to come up with a masterpiece (Okay often you can, but then you are lucky). Try to take some pictures along with you to give the artist an idea of the style you are going for. You would be surprised how many different styles there are.

Make sure to check out the artist’s portfolio online before you meet him/her or ask to see his portfolio before you make a decision. You will easily be able to gather enough of an idea of the talent of the artist, or the lack thereof.

NB!!! Make sure to check up on the hygiene policy of the tattoo studio.

I hope that people will start to discover more and more that gentle, loving people can also have tattoos 🙂

4 thoughts on “I’m (Going To Be) A Mom With Tattoos – Lisa Fillmore

  1. I love the gramophone one because I also love that song. I love that each tattoo has more than one meaning to you, and none of things you’ve just copied off Pinterest or something. Unique and precious!

  2. Really lovely tats – being a member of the older generation but reading this blog which is mostly for the younger generation, I find I am learning to love the tattoos (but will never be ready to get one myself). I am the only one allowed to inflict pain on myself lol. 🙂

  3. i still battle with tatooes i must admit and Cindy knows that, but am getting used to it. Just wanted to say Lisa that I knew your dad, he was a great guy and it was a major shock to hear about his death all those years ago. Did you know that you and Cindy grew up together for a time while we were at Vineyard. I used to rock you to sleep in my arms on our playdates to give mom a break, as my 2 were now able to see to themselves. it is so wonderful to see your testimony here of walking with the Lord, keep close to Him with your hubby. 🙂

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