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Published on December 18th, 2011 | by BioniKate


Aunt Bionikate’s Guide Part Two

“I love it when Aunt Kate visits, she always brings us stuff!” These eloquent words of my niece Kaitlyn recently prove that I have monumentally succeeded at spoiling her and her sisters. You know, I really do want them to expect presents, because that’s part of the excitement of a visit! Down the line, they won’t remember what I brought them (until I bring them skates) and they won’t care (again, skates!), but what they will remember is that act of giving; and how I would show up at random times with surprises and lots of hugs and attention just for them. I want nothing more than to make them feel extremely special and overwhelmingly loved.

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So along with the bonus life lesson of always greedily expecting presents from their aunt…I must forge on with my list….

AUNT BIONIKATE’S GUIDE TO BECOMING AN ORNERY, STALWART LADY BADASS: an ongoing list of odd, yet useful life lessons for the benefit of Sienna, Kaitlyn, Sophie, Olivia, Rosalie, and Eden…PART 2!!

11. There is absolutely no reason why you should have to act your age…ever. If you’re nearing 30 and want to collect well-illustrated children’s books, then dammit, don’t let anyone stop you. If you’re nearing 30 and decide that roller-skating is something you should learn to do, then by all means try it and make an exceptionally wonderful fool of yourself. And if you’re nearing 30 and your mom buys you a giant sock monkey because she knows you’ll love it…well, just count yourself blessed that you are one of the few awesome people left in the world. Always keep them guessing…

12. One of these days, I may decide it’s time to take you fly-fishing. As you will learn, I’m just conceited enough that I feel like my hobbies must be yours, so this will be one of them. My dad taught me some mad fly-fishing skills because lets face it, my brother wouldn’t step up to the plate on this one, so someone had to do it! However, I learned to absolutely love how ridiculously NOT boring this kind of fishing is. First you have to learn to flick your wrist correctly and not bend your elbow, then once you’ve mastered that, you have to use it to cast accurately (all while balancing on slick rocks and dodging bears and moose, no less!). Finally, you have to outsmart some trout by anticipating what, where, and when they are eating. The general lesson I’m trying to teach you here is to try things that challenge you…despite social or gender norms, despite preconceived notions, even despite your aunt trying to force you into something. The specific lesson I’m trying to teach you is, that you’ll really want to master this fly-fishing thing when the zombie apocalypse occurs and we need to hide out in Yellowstone. You have to pull your weight in the camp…people gotta eat!

13. My eldest niece, Sienna, gave me one of my most treasured affirmations a few months back. She told her mom, “I love Kate, she likes to watch kid movies and when I fart she always says ‘nice one!'” Children, I hereby promise to always compliment you on your bodily functions.

14. This tip is reserved especially for sweet little Eden, who is still cooking in an incubator at the moment. The faster you learn this, the better. As the newest member of our family, you should know that your gramps has already chosen a most ridiculously embarrassing nickname for you. I’m really, really sorry about this, but as a member of our family you are now forever stuck with it. These nicknames are so goofy and terrible that I am feeling all squirmy just thinking about them, and would be horrified if they ever got out. Your dad has one, I have one, your grandma actually has a few of them (gross), and you will never live it down til the day you die. Grin and bear it…it means that Grandpa loves you…but please, don’t ever, and I mean EVER tell anyone outside of the family what they are.

15. I’m (only partially) ashamed to admit, that I’ve occasionally been known to be a bit petulant…a bitch really. When someone gets in my way, I get down and start hating all of mankind. It’s funny how easy it is to forget that I’m part of mankind too. One particularly bitchy day, I was driving along and looked up to find this message that I’m convinced was put there just for me (because we’ve already established that I’m conceited). Life lessons can even be taught by a gas station. I snapped this photo and now carry it around on my phone to give myself a little reminder now and then:


16. Relating to the lesson above…someday, when (not if!) you play derby, you’re going to be thrown into the most eclectic group of people you’ve ever been around. Most of them won’t necessarily share your beliefs, interests, or really anything in common with you at all, other than derby. But you will learn the most beautiful lesson life has to teach you…that people are people, and every one of them deserves respect, no matter how weird you think they are. You may not love every teammate, you may not agree with anything they do or say, but they are humans and though they may be hard to love, they at least deserve the same kindness and civility that you would expect to receive. Besides, you’re really going to want them to cooperate when they have to block for you, so don’t piss off your own teammates.

17. So we’ve established that being kind and respectful is rather mandatory, but what if the most rarest of rare incidents occurs and this just doesn’t work on someone? Well, this will probably be the absolute worst (or possibly best) advice I will ever give you. You have to think long and hard about following through with this one before you do it, but it may come in handy. There was a time between 2nd and 8th grade when I was bullied mercilessly by a couple of people. When I would come home crying, my dad would try to jokingly break the tension by saying “Why don’t you punch ’em?!” Very funny. But you know what? One thing I can honestly say that I regret in life is that I didn’t punch this one particular girl in the face. (She shoved me into a table full of stacked chairs…it definitely would have been merited.) There may be that one girl that just absolutely pushes you to the limit, instead of blaming and hurting yourself, just go ahead and throw one good contact punch in her face…but only, only, only after the worst provocation, because then it’s self-defense. (I may be half kidding about this one…)

18. I probably won’t ever encourage you to ask me for dating advice. In all honesty, I’ve not given enough time or energy to gain all the experience necessary to give you the full down and dirty of it. (I’ve been too damn busy obsessing over derby, fly-fishing, and stock-piling goods for the zombie apocalypse…yep, I’m one hot commodity!) Anyway, my very wise friend Jess, in a recent conversation stated this: “If your guy is a douche to everyone else, he’s likely being even more of a douche to you, whether you want to see it or not.” This stemmed from a story told about a girl who was raving over how sweet her boyfriend was because he always is so considerate of her asthma and agreed to blow his cigarette smoke away from her when they are together, and crack the window open when he smokes in the car. Aww… now that guy just seems like a classy gent. Referring back up to number 15…face punches can also be administered to morons who need sense knocked into them. In the very well chosen words of Jess, “If your boyfriend’s habits endanger your vital functions and he won’t stop…not a sweetheart!!” Why would you ever, ever settle for anything less than what you really want or deserve? That’s beginning to become a cliche’ phrase that your friends use to console you with when things go wrong…but why wouldn’t you listen to it? My gosh, love yourself enough to demand to be treated properly–respected, listened to, adored, encouraged, inspired…

19. When I was about 17, as a way of bonding, my dad sat me down and handed me a cigar. We smoked them in the back yard and he made me promise that I would only smoke under his supervision. That lasted until, oh, a few weeks later when I was 18 and bought my first pack of Marlboro Lights. Did that whole thing into my early 20s and stopped when I realized I couldn’t really breathe anymore. I’m not going to tell you “Just say no!”…you’re likely going to try out some things regardless of what I tell you. I’m just telling you that breathing is a pretty critical derby and life requirement, and I don’t want to smell your smoke stank, so don’t do it.

20. Never fly anywhere without a pair of underwear in your carry-on. If you’re not using a carry-on, stick a pair in your back pocket, and feel free to wave them at a TSA agent…just make sure you have them. When dealing with air travel, Murphy’s Law is working at it’s most critical levels. Your luggage will get lost and you could be stuck. You’ll want those undies to make you feel human again.

To be continued…

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