Tattoos and Their Owners

Shannon M.

It’s midnight. Do you know where your teenage daughter is? 

If you’re Sue Mason, you can relax but you might want to put a cover on the fruit bowl. Your daughter, Shannon, is sleep-walking into the kitchen to munch on a late night peach. No, seriously. For years, Shannon ran the peach supply dry with her midnight snacks. Her midnight munchies even prompted a childhood nickname, ‘Peaches.’ She and her mom teamed up to plot the perfect plan. 

Shannon knew that she wanted to carry a piece of her mom with her, so together 15 year-old Shannon and her mom picked out a peach tattoo (years before Call Me by Your Name was a film, please don’t ask). 3 years later, they visited High Tide Tattoo in Juneau, Alaska, and Shannon left with her first tattoo: a peach cut in half with the core showing. A decorative mark representing her love for her mother (and peaches). 

She hurled herself to New York City at 18 years-old, pursuing a degree in journalism, culture, and society. 10+ hour flights and 4 time zones stand as mere hurdles when Shannon remembers her personal cheerleaders in Alaska. She shares her second tattoo with a group of lifelong friends from home. They spent the summer after her freshman year at The King’s College mulling over a design. Come sophomore year fall semester, they reentered the world, found tattoo parlors in their respective cities, and came back to Alaska with bumblebees on various body parts. Shannon decided to put her bee on her sternum. Did you know all worker bees are female and they communicate through dance? How suiting that a busy, vibrant journalist and former ballerina wears a tattoo so symbolic of herself! Though she doesn’t put on pointe shoes as often anymore, you may catch a glimpse of her bee tattoo at a school dance. She keeps a dress for such occasions that features a cut out to show off her ink.

Photo Credit: Shannon Mason

Shannon considers her tattoos a time capsule enhancing the memories of those she considers family by blood and by choice. Her last tattoo is a unique doodle of a pair of lips and a nose. You won’t find it in any tattoo artist’s portfolio. Shannon and her family found a book of drawings in her Aunt Judy’s belongings after she passed away. In January of 2020, a short time after her passing, the members of the Mason family each selected their favorite doodle and honored their dear sister, aunt, and mom. Shannon chose the lips and nose which she says resembles the “Mason smirk.” Surrounded by all the women on her mom’s side of the family, she had her last tattoo done in remembrance of the remarkable woman she loved as her second mom. 

A thread of black ink keeps her communities tied together in fierce loyalty and gentle gratitude. What a beautiful society of Alaskans bound together! Products of love, grit, and many, many peaches, Shannon’s tattoos echo the joy of her dearest humans, allowing the rest of us to hear their inward charm. 

Or at least make us hungry for a midnight snack.

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