By Chantal Vanasse, L’Itineraire
“I see it as an experience that makes me be aware of the human inside of me. It allows me to appreciate everything I have, even though I have very little. It makes me aware of how lucky I am, despite all the tough situations I’ve been through, I know the best is yet to come.” You can always see Tania with her beautiful smile and playful eyes. It’s hard to imagine the dark place she was in when she started selling L’Itinéraire.
Tania spent her life getting back on her feet. She fought back against everything that came her way, from the poverty during her childhood, to the belittling she felt from the people around her and to the manipulation and bullying she endured. But every time, she got back up.
She got pregnant twice, at age 15 and 16 and she lost custody of her daughters, but once again, she got back up. Never losing hope, she worked hard enough to own her own painting company at only 21 years old. It was her main focus at the time, although she had many other jobs on the side such as working on construction sites, in bars, as a sales associate. “I always figured out a way to make things work or simply survive, depending on the situation I was in,” she says.
Tania has done it all and she has also seen it all. She was hurt many times, which made her second-guess herself a lot and put her in a general state of doubt. She never forgot her childhood wounds. In spite of that, she was still very confident about herself, even though some could think otherwise. “People thought that I had no self-confidence, when really all the while, it was other people I no longer trusted,” she explains. Tania says that was caused by keeping bad company.
“The moment in your life where you feel other people care about you shifts your whole perspective.”
It was a sudden and unexpected realisation that brought Tania to L’Itinéraire. She bought the magazine regularly, but never thought she could actually sell it. She did not see it as something which could lead to other opportunities, but simply as a job you do when there are no options left.
“The moment in your life where you feel other people care about you shifts your whole perspective,” she says. “When I understood the help of the people at L’Itinéraire was really honest and genuine, I felt like taking care of myself more. Seeing them consider me as someone worthy, made me believe it myself.”
Tania’s goal is to listen to others’ needs; she wants to be able to say the right things to the people who need it the most. She sees L’Itinéraire as an oxygen mask: in case of a plane crash, you use it to save yourself first. Only then can you take care of the children seated next to you. It didn’t take her long to breathe in that healing Itinéraire oxygen and completely fill her lungs with it. Tania is not only a vendor, she also writes for l’Itinéraire and she is involved in the association’s activities.
Tania expresses this sudden burst of life in all the ways that she can. She wants to use her artistic creativity – dancing, singing and writing – to overcome her past while expressing her beautiful will to live. She wants to give back to her relatives, to her daughters, to her father, to her son-in-law… She simply wants to give back. Her arms are wide open to everything life has to offer her.