3 Lessons I Learned From Auntie Tanqueray

humans of new york auntie tanqueray

A few days ago, one of my favorite Instagram accounts called Humans of New York (@humansofny) posted a story of this cute little old black lady.  When I first saw her picture I thought she would regale us with tales of times past and boy did she deliver.

“My stripper name was Tanqueray.” and just like that, I was hooked. No…not because I always wanted to be a stripper named Tanqueray but because I admired her courage to be unapologetically herself.

I don’t know her name so we’ll just call her auntie Tangqueray or auntie T to keep things simple. In 3 short Instagram posts, she stole my heart and taught me a few lessons about life that I want to share.

3 Lessons I Learned From Auntie Tangueray

Lesson #1: Be Unapologetically Yourself

I was struck by how much auntie Tanqueray didn’t care about what she said, how she said it, or how her words would make anyone feel.  She was telling her story – her truth and we were gonna get it the way she gave it.

As I grow as a creative and as a woman, I’m learning how important it is to be myself. People want you, not some fake version of you.  

I’m not gonna lie, being myself can be had at times  I grew up a people pleaser so I cared about what everybody else wanted or what everybody else would think more than I cared about my desires or feelings. 

I feel like auntie T would say, F*$& what they think and do her own thing.  I want to be more like her.

Lesson #2: Live Life To The Fullest

As I sat at my desk at work reading her stories, hanging on her every word. I started to wonder how I’d let life become so dull and mundane.

I envy auntie T’s colorful life.  

I have no doubt that her life has been equally filled with romance and good times as it has been with drama and despair.  Even in her older years, it seems like she’s still living life to the fullest.  

Right now I can’t say that I’ve done that and that saddens me.  I don’t want to look back on life and wonder “what if I would have only…”.

No matter what we think about her choices, she made her own path and I respect her for that

Lesson #3: Leave Them Wanting More

humans of ny tanqueray

This lesson is for all my writers out there.  Not every story you tell is going to be as bold and colorful as hers, but aim to make your readers/viewers want more.  I dare you to check out her story and tell me that you’re not as in love with her as I am: Post 1, Post 2, and Post 3

Her posts on the Humans of New York Instagram account have garnered over 600 thousand, yea, that’s right, 600 thousand comments with the majority of them positive.  People want, no scratch that – people feel like they need to know more about her and her life.  

From her very first sentence, “My mom threw me out of the house at seventeen for getting pregnant”, each line captivated me and made me hunger for the next sentence and then the next.

Auntie Tanqueray doesn’t know that I exist but she changed my world in 3 short posts. We may never hear from the Internet sensation again but I for one am glad that I got to know her, even if it was from an Instagram post.  



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