A Letter to Anna Upon Graduation

ANNAPHOTO.jpgDear Anna,

I wanted to say well done for graduating. You probably don’t know how proud I am because I don’t often show it on the outside, but inside I am – to use a well-worn cliché – bursting.

You are an incredibly brave person. I know, first hand, how difficult it was to leave our school with the intention of doing anything other than a straight-forward Russell Group academic degree. You are very clever (and I have never, for one moment, doubted that), so there was pressure to do something to boost figures and sound good at Prizegiving and so on and so forth. But you did it; you followed your heart and you stuck with it. It takes guts, lots of guts, and you’ve proved – beyond doubt – that guts are what you’ve got.

It didn’t work out first time, and that could have been it. I know that I couldn’t face choosing the same degree second time round because it had too many reminders of the first time, but that didn’t stop you: you knew what you wanted to do and stuck with it. That’s the second time I’ve written that – maybe that’s what I admire; your ability to stick with it.

You stuck with it even when it was really hard. Having a sister who shouts at you and ignores you and then worries you because she is slowly fading in front of your eyes whilst regressing into a toddler state wasn’t easy; I know that. Watching your big sister – role-model by default, if not practice – break down in hospital and then be built back up, piece by piece must have been confusing and frightening.  It is sad, for me, that – after growing up so close, side-by-side – I missed out some of the growing up bits.

Often it is that you’re the older sister and I am the younger one now and in that way I look up to you too. I am in awe of you for moving to London, when I still can’t think of spending the night away from home without my stomach clenching. I often feel guilty that I didn’t do the job and lead the way, but sometimes things are not as they should be.

Having said that it takes guts to stick with it, it takes guts to change your mind too. I can’t give much advice because you’ve overtaken me in so many ways, but I can tell you that there is nothing wrong with changing your mind. If it doesn’t work out, or you change your mind, there’s nothing wrong with that. A wise soul once said to me that you should try everything once, except incest and country dancing. I think it’s true.

What I am most proud of you for is being honest about what you love. I watched you earlier, when we were at the Victoria and Albert museum and it felt so wonderful to see you loving something that belonged so very much to you.

Always be Anna.

Your Kitty xxx


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