Posted by: Admin | July 26, 2010


Dear Sal,

I'm guessing it was you who scribbled on this?

I’ve been your sister now for nearly 44 years and you STILL don’t listen to me, so I thought I’d write you a letter instead. You’ve always been a bit annoying (which is why I used to shut you in the cupboard when we were small) but lovable and so, so kind, which is why I keep nagging you.

What do I keep nagging you about? I knew you weren’t listening when I saw you today! I want to get hold of you and shake you because you deserve to see your dreams come true. You work so hard at so many different jobs, always running at full tilt just to stand still. I want you to take a breath and see the possibilities that surround you.

Me, days before giving birth to no 4, You, super-glam and gorgeous

I don’t think you realise how much I admire you. We are so different in our skills and interests, but we are both creative in our own ways.

When you were younger you never sat still for a minute. Dad’s lodger used to called you “whoosh-whoosh” because you’d whoosh in and whoosh out again like a human tornado, leaving everybody breathless. Since you met Mark and settled down and had your lovely girl you’ve mellowed. You’ve become the “you” that you were always meant to be… almost.

I say “almost” because you seem to be afraid to follow your dreams. I’m talking about the catering company you could so easily start, or the cleaning business you could run, the craft business in which you would do so well, the cake-making that would pay your bills on its own and the small-holding you long to develop. It’s as if you think that these ideas are too grand for you, that such things are for other people, not you. And they will be, if you don’t bite the bullet and start making a plan. How much money do other people make from your hard work? That money should be yours, for you to become the Sally you deserve to be. Don’t get me wrong: you’re lovely as you are. I just think you could be enjoying your life more if you weren’t constantly sweating for other people who don’t appreciate you as they should.

Do what makes you happy                        © 2010 Jo Blackwell

I know you have commitments and things are tight. I know that it’s scary to even think about changing things. But isn’t it even scarier to race towards your fifties in a fog of exhaustion with all these wonderful ideas of yours locked away inside you? It’s like eating healthily. You’re always saying that you want to lose weight, that this food doesn’t suit you, or that food makes you tired. So what’s stopping you? Don’t you want to feel better? To have the energy to live your life? What is it that’s holding you back?

It all boils down to looking after YOU, doesn’t it? Like so many mothers, you’re brilliant at looking after your family, your friends, your community, but pretty shit at looking after you. Look at all the help you’ve given me as I start my business.

So start thinking of yourself as a friend who needs nurturing and believe in yourself. Walt Disney said: “If we can dream it, we can do it.” And that’s the point, Sal – you’re not alone. As soon as you start generating that positive energy around you, you’ll be amazed at how things fall into place. Start small, dream big. Take one small step, half a step even. Or I’ll have to shut you in a cupboard. Again.

With love, always,

your Big Sis xxx


  1. Another beautifully written piece – I’m sure she listens she just probably likes you to think she doesn’t!! xx

  2. Thought it was ‘voom?’ – odd thing is though I was telling Bill the exact same story the other night. Strange no?

  3. I feel honoured to have such a beautiful letter written to me, and have printed it to re- read, once Ive stopped crying that is!!. I feel like you’ve looked in to my soul and read my inner most thoughts! I will do my best to heed your advice Idon’t want locking in that cupboard again!!! ( I’m still afraid of the dark!) Thank you for bing such a clever lovely sister xxxxxxxxxxx

  4. Please can I adopt you as my sister!

    I remember Sally from school days – hoping to meet up with her again on 20th August School Re-Union. I love the photos on her profile also those of her daughter as a fairy in the woods. I thought the photographer would be her, she strikes me as a very creative person, at peace with the world.

    Ceri x

  5. wow – I’m going to let Sally see my blog stats! Either she has many, many supportive friends or there are an awful lot of folk out there with frustrating sisters!
    Sal – now I know how to get through to you (ie: write it down and publish on the net!) you’ll be seeing all sorts on here. Just kidding xxx

  6. […] So far, the most viewed posts have been The Saturday Interview with The Wartime Housewife, Letter to my Sister, and Letter to my Daughters. Interestingly, it’s the more personal posts that attract the […]

  7. Incredibly moving and inspirational . . . as an only child how I would have loved a sister like you!

  8. Welcome Ceri and Wendy – thank you for you comments. Interesting how you both express a longing to be nagged… 😉
    I was an only child until I was five when my father married again and Sally arrived. I still remember my excitement.

  9. […] reader, you know Sally. She was subjected to one of my letters, close to the beginning – you can read it here, if you’ve a mind to. I can’t tell you how proud I am of […]

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