A Letter to Elena Greco (My Brilliant Friend Series by Elena Ferrante)

I see parts of myself in you and Lila but yet found myself rooting more for Lila. I couldn’t particularly understand why until the third book when I saw you taking more confidence in yourself and I started taking more of your side. I failed to root for you because you weren’t rooting for yourself, especially as much as, despite however much you claimed to wish her dead, you rooted for Lila. Lila understood earlier the need to live for herself, which I guess is something I valued more. Maybe she was pushed by the excruciating beatings from life early on, that lacked in your life.

I wanted you to recognize in yourself the same tenacity and “evilness” you saw in Lila. You had it too, I wanted you to be able to see that you did demonstrate that same aura you saw in Lila. The difference is solely in that Lila was not able to hide hers, it was expressed outwards. Instead you, you Elena, had learned how to hide it, internalize it. Doing evil only to yourself.

It’s often obvious that you forget or don’t understand that just because someone else’s light shines bright, doesn’t mean yours doesn’t. One’s light doesn’t have to dim for yours to shine. Too many times in this friendship was that the tone. The expectation. Be proud you left the neighborhood, be proud Lila stayed.

You give importance to everyone surrounding you even when they are not worth it, failing to see how important and spectacular you are, you could be. How spectacular you could be if you lived life for yourself, rather than how you should as the poor girl allowed to study at these places with these people. You forget the part where YOU earned those opportunities. You continue to live life as expected but no one is doing the expecting but yourself.

You fail to see the greatness in you, just yourself without Lila. The only time I ever liked Nino was when he said to you “you ended up attributing to Lila capacities that are only yours.”

I can not and will not judge you for your relationship with Nino. The bond between two people can only be fully understood by those in it. When it comes to love, I have learned that the statement “that could never be me” can easily become untrue.
Yet I hope to not make the decisions you did.
I hope not to be proud of my accomplishments only when recognized by others. I hope not to dismiss my feelings when they are not shared by others. I hope to not shrink myself to comfort others or when others are greater than me. My lights shine, even when others do not shine or shine brighter.

Yet I hope, Elena, to have the bravery you emulated by recognizing my strengths and passions and having the courage to pursue them. To not give up because things do not come easily. To love Love as much as you did. To invest in my imagination even when others do not see its worth. To see the beauty in the people around me when they failed to see it.

Elena, you lived a full life, one I hope to see you proud of.


Videos To Watch:

My Brilliant Friend series on HBO Max…duhhhh.

In addition: The lasting legacy of r*cist pseudo sciences | Khadija Mbowe

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