Being an aunt is one of the most dope roles we can fulfill here on planet earth. However, it means you either need a sibling or close friend willing to take on parenthood so they can produce or adopt a child. Then those siblings are biologically obligated to love you forever. Congrats! Now you're an aunt. But when said child is a little girl, the bond is even more special. For starters, there are some promises every aunt can make her niece.
When I say "promises", I'm talking realistic promises, not insane ones you wish were true. Just because you'd absolutely love to gift your niece a dope ride on her 16th birthday, that doesn't inspire the writing field to pay higher to accommodate that. You could genuinely hope upon hope she finds major success as an abstract painter and marry a wealthy, babely racecar driver, but saying so aloud does not make it any more likely. Let's instead focus on what's real and what isn't delusional to expect. After all, you want to help make sure her life is an adventure in kneepads, right? As in, you hope she experiences a lot of fun, exciting things while keeping most of her important limbs. That's all any of us can hope for, TBH.
Here's some promises every aunt can make her niece:
Applying waterproof eyeliner in a rush never works out
Either wake up earlier or skip that step in your routine altogether. Waterproof (liquid, especially) eyeliner is the ultimate teacher in accountability because once that goes on, it's staying. So apply only with purpose and a few extra minutes to spare.
Starting to moisturize early in life pays off
It's a good habit that makes you smell better and shows respect to your future self.
Same with sunscreen
It might smell slightly less awesome than moisturizer, but the rest of the above applies here, too. Plus, tans are cute but sunburns are not.
You won't regret waiting a while for your first tattoo
Draw up or find an image of what you want for your first tattoo. Tack it up to your bathroom mirror and look at it every day for six months. If you still want it—assuming it's small-ish, not overtly trendy (ask me, I will tell you), and not on your neck—go for it, but only with a very safe shop staffed by skilled, thoughtful artists. If you need something now, opt for piercings. You can always remove those later. Tattoos? Not so much. (Although who knows about the future world in which you're a teen. Maybe ignore this one, pending incoming science developments.)
If someone pressures you to do something you don't want to do, you don't have to keep them around
Whether it's sex stuff, drug/alcohol stuff, or dance club stuff (*shudder*), it doesn't matter if it doesn't appeal to you. A person who makes you feel you must do things you don't want to do is not a great presence in your life. Incessant pressure shows just how little faith they have in their own actions or hunches. They need other people to participate to validate them, which sure doesn't sound appealing. Ditch them as quickly as possible.
It's smart to carry a small snack at all times
Even if you disavow any biological imprint I placed on your precious head and do not experience hangry tendencies, you will know someone who does. For real, you might just carry this snack for me. After all, I am your aunt. It's really the least you can do.
Making fun of another woman's body or choices won't make you feel better about your own
It's good to understand as early as possible that other women are not the enemy. See women for what they are: potential allies, maybe even sisters. We need each others' support to stay strong and keep doing awesome shit. Women are your most pure comrades in waiting so you should return the favor.
I will borrow your nail polish and "forget" to return it
Snacking policy guidelines apply here, too. Besides, I'll buy you your first thong or whatever to make up for it later. Chill.
You need to make people earn your trust
Unfortunately not everyone can keep a secret and sometimes, you really do need that confidence. Let friendships and relationships bloom over time before you start pouring precious, personal intel into them. If you must gab, do it to me. I won't tell anyone except Twitter.
Learning to tolerate exercise now will pay off later
I did not fathom cardio as a non-negotiable necessity until my late 20s. Exercise, regardless of what the media and other people may suggest, can be done solely as an effort to stay alive. It isn't just a way to be conventionally hot. It helps your brain and even if my hangry gene didn't burrow its way in, at least a little brain stuff surely did. We can all use some brain help. Plus healthy circulation, yoga pants, etc. It's all very important stuff, so learn to love it.
Being very into something and working hard at it is quite cool
It's like that Jeffrey Lewis song I put on that mix CD which I know you still listen to (while we're at it, put that on. You know the one). Make a trade with all the time whipping by you. Find something you like and get really good at it. You can always change your mind later, but for now, prioritize it in some way.
Treating everyone with respect is not a waste of energy
It's the right thing to do. You never know what someone's experience or day is like. It takes the same amount of energy to be bitchy as it does to be kind. So choose kindness. Also, with time comes change. Your weird classmate who carries their clarinet by their side every single day is eventually gonna grow up (as will you, spoiler) and maybe get hot. You never know. Either way, they're worthy of respect.
I will always jump onboard with hating people who did you wrong
Because now I hate them and they're the worst.
What you put on the Internet will never die
Be careful what you broadcast to an endless sea of anonymous eyeballs. Angry rants don't disappear when the feelings that inspired them pass. Everything is up there forever so be mindful. Keep a tangible journal, too, since getting it all out is important—maybe just not publicly.
Skip the comments to stay sane
You don't need to know what people "really say" or "really think" about you. You'll go crazy. Stay focused on you and doing your thing.
Condoms are crucial
I mean this for real.
You will fuck up
You can do everything exactly right and by the rules and strike and follow a really killer balance in ~life~, but that doesn't matter. You will make a wrong move somewhere, hurting yourself and possibly someone else. But you can't let a fear of this happening paralyze you. Just know it will happen at some point and you'll survive.
So will your parents (and fine, me too)
You'll learn through experience that no one actually knows what they're doing pretty much ever. It's not like as we enter adulthood some wise old wizard (or witch, more likely) appears to grant us a perfect life compass. We're all faking it, which means errors are inevitable.
We'll all be fine
Or at least you can always count on me as your ride-or-die. But seriously, most everything works out and the stuff that doesn't is just kinda whatever.
Images: Unsplash; Giphy(19)