I was born to know you. To name you. Freedom.

I have always been close to far with my mother . In hindsight, I think I loved her far too badly. A mother does not deserve to be badly loved. No.

There are several categories of friends. Those we can not live without, those we only appreciate for the good times and those that life takes away from us but that always remain in a corner of our heart – those who have always been there, despite the distance, in the good ones as in the bad times. My relationship with my mother comes down to this last category. Despite our long and intense cohabitation – fusional then completely anarchist – my mother and I have always been very connected. My mother is young, my mother is beautiful, my mother always smiles – even when she is sad and that’s what makes her noticed. She shines wherever she goes. Younger, I too shone but always by my inconstancy.

One day she told me “you’ll see” and I laughed.

No threat had ever worked on me. At eighteen, I was not afraid of anything. I hated authority, rules and laws because at eighteen I felt well above all that. I did not like much except loneliness and silence, and my books that I always read in the dark.

I hated my background, this culture, my parents’ story , my name, my middle name, and my mother’s strong accent.

There is something at Elle that bothered me deeply. Something that prevented me from tracing my path, moving forward, becoming all that I had imagined for myself. There has always been this little thing between us that made it stop me.

I have always dreamed of independence, justice, emancipation and freedom, but I always knew that as a migrant girl , I should fight for the right to one day enjoy all these benefits .

“At home” , it has always been necessary to pay attention to others. Protect them, love them precisely and then, pay attention to what they might say or think of us. Pay attention to the neighbor, to the old gossips of the village, aunts and uncles left there and to all those strangers who could convey a bad image of our family .

These others stole my freedom to think, to be and to become a free woman.

When I was born, my mother was 17 years old and she was not married. Foolishly, I thought that these rebellions (at the time) would play in my favor to win my fight for my individual freedom . I really thought that together we could break the strict and medieval taboos, diktats, codes and rules of our culture. But the one who was then to be my most faithful ally, abandoned me for the benefit of all those others – thieves of freedom.

At eighteen, I was convinced … At eighteen, we all needed to hate someone, to have a scapegoat, a puching ball. At eighteen, it is so easy to hate those who gave us everything and who were always there to pick us up when our skinned knees were on the ground. The one that has always been there is Elle. And despite the violence of my words sometimes, She stayed. Worthy, upright and faithful to herself . My mother always knew how to sweep away my tears and sorrows with her smile . How could she finally hate her?

One day she told me “you’ll understand”   and I smiled.

What was there to understand? I knew that she loved me, that we loved each other. This love can not be explained. But. But I was expecting something else from the “We” we formed when we hugged each other . My struggles against injustice, peace, freedom and equality have gradually become more intense. I have renounced morals, my religion, customs and traditions for a more intense life. I knew love and disappointment, I built dreams before disillusionment prevailed, then I met hope and it was called Florian . Often, I say that we met by chance and always it’s a lie because there is no chance, only appointments *. I chose him, even drunk, it’s him I wanted for life. Florian and I have nothing in common except the love and deep respect we have for ourselves.

I wanted someone completely different to help me become free. Freedom, though written in the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Man and Woman , is neither acquired nor innate. It is definitely won by crossing barefoot storms.

And together , we crossed oceans and for me , he moved mountains so that I could reach certain stars. With Florian, I realized that my freedom and my struggles to win it would always transcend borders. It was at that moment that I really liked it and the click in me took place.

The more serious it became between us and the more the question of having children arose. Naturally, under the quilt, entwined and in love because the most intense and wildest discussions always take place in the dark – late at night.

Thinking about this cultural heritage that I will pass on to this imagined child, I suddenly realized that I myself was rich. My pockets and my heart were full of riches to offer, to distribute, to teach, to transmit for tomorrow – so that this child will never forget who I have been.

Chiara arrived a few years later, after 5 or 6 years of deep depression during which I got very close to my mother . She washed my hair and rocked me, sang rhymes from us to reassure me and stroked my back so that I fell asleep. Never, I would have wanted to fall asleep with another language than the one with which she said so well “I love you”.

There is nothing more to say about this passage of my life except that it allowed me to become the companion that I am, the friend that I am, the child of whom I am – the mother and the woman that I am.

10 years later, I can write it – failing to dare to say it: it is by losing a part of myself that I found the other half, the one I missed for so many years years.

I started writing again and when it was necessary to choose a name to present my universe, I instantly chose to call it ElodieJelena . Without point and without dash. I reconnected with the words by linking these two names so that they together form all that I am and all that I wanted to give you to you but also all that I wanted to leave of me to my daughter.

My daughter will be called Chiara Mila . My daughter is Italian and Serbian and she has names that are synonymous with love, clarity and freedom.

A long time ago, soldiers always started their love letters with “Mila Moja” – My Mila. Mila – my tender, my sweet, my long awaited, my beloved.

Around them, the deafening noise of revolutions merges with the songs of their struggles for freedom and peace.

And I sing like them again and again the same song – like that soldier of freedom that I was too …

E the genti, che passeranno
And people, they will pass
E diranno ‘Oh che bel fior’.
And will say ‘Oh what a beautiful flower’.
E questo he fiore Del partigiano
This flower is the flower of the partisan
O bella ciao
O my beautiful goodbye
Ciao, ciao
Goodbye goodbye

E questo he fiore Del partigiano
This flower is the flower of the partisan
Morto for freedom.
Death for freedom.

And if it’s a girl, she’ll be named XX, Bella . Because I’m free now Mom.

Thank you for your smile that so well told me how much you loved me.

… And they will say ‘Oh what a beautiful flower, this flower is the flower of the partisan, O my beautiful goodbye and thank you Mom.