Blessed dearest,

As I am writing to you, I am also, in a way, writing to myself. To a version of me that I no longer am, or perhaps to one I am yet to become.

There's so much that I would love to tell you and I worry that I may never be able to weave all of it into words. 

Not in this letter. Not in any conversation we are yet to have. It terrifies me. But here is an attempt. Call me trying.

On the day I discovered the scars running up and across your hand, I was shattered. I was rattled that I was only just seeing these scars that you've had for years. It broke me that your tender self perceived no other way out. 

I wanted to have a conversation with you about it but I didn't know how to. I didn't know how. Forgive me.

Forgive me for my blindness, consciously or unconsciously. I have been so consumed by my own pain and sadness that I never spared yours a glance, a thought, forgive me.

Pain can be alienating. Lonely. I hope you know that you aren't alone. I need you to know that there's so much shared between us. Human beings, I mean. 

Other people feel this too. There are billions of people who've felt it before. There are billions who are yet to feel it. There are perhaps millions who are feeling it right at this moment. 

I know what it's like to stick out awkwardly; to be all sharp angles in a round world. To feel lost. To be picked on and painted layers and layers of unworthy you start to believe it. 

But you are enough. You deserve to be here, to take up space. And you are worthy. You always have been and always will be; there isn't a moment in your existence that you will not be. 

When mom was pregnant with you, the doctors said that there was a chance you wouldn't make it. But you came out screaming and healthy and such a blessing that they couldn't help but call you Blessed.

You've come a really long way since then. And you're still here, you're still trying. 

I wish I could tell you that life gets easier; that it gets better and you'll have it all figured out one day. But I don't know that. I don't know a lot of things to be honest.

All I know is that whatever is happening to you now will pass. Hopefully, you'll barely remember it two years from now. 

So, believe me when I say that there's so much life beyond what you are experiencing at this moment. So many parallels. So many possibilities.

There are sunsets to see and people worth crying over. You haven't met all the things that will make you happy, I promise. I promise.

My lovely little sister, how lovely you are. All that black girl magic; all that melanin more precious than gold. Sixteen and blooming, and at the peak of your childhood. So intensely adored. So wholly loved. So deeply treasured.

I want you to know that you are loved, Blessed. So boundlessly and unconditionally. And if I can't speak for anyone else, I speak for myself; I love you. 

I pray that you never feel like you need to hide parts of yourself from anyone. Especially not from me. For as long as I am alive, for as long as the heavens will it, I will always be on your side. Always. 

There are things worth living for. I hope you find them, love. I hope they find you. Silently. When you least expect them to. Peacefully. 


Your overbearing older sister whose face you stole,




Doanna Owano is a multi-disciplinary, neurodivergent creative based in Nairobi, Kenya. She is passionate about storytelling through performance, writing, and design. She is a musical theatre enthusiast who enjoys singing, reading YA fiction, re-watching coming-of-age films by women about women, and RuPaul's Drag Race.



Instagram: @_doanna

Twitter: @DoannaOwano

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