Liviana Tane. The one who started her traveling project “Around the world in 100 books” (“Ocolul lumii în 100 de cărți” in Romanian). Some of you may have been her students in the past year at The Writing School workshops. Or you may know her as a former colleague since Liviana worked as a show producer and news station editorial coordinator at Realitatea TV and DIGI24 channels. She may have helped you write your stories, but she never told you about hers. The one that lifts you up and then smashes you straight into rock bottom. One about the financial crisis, house eviction, break up, about a single mom, depression, and about losing it all, twice. In spite of it all, life has had an amazing way to get back at her, by providing her with solutions where she wouldn’t even have dreamed of looking.
Liviana’s neighbors remember her as being that girl with plaits who was always reading books. She secretly learned to read when she was five years old after she saw her mother fascinated reading for hours and hours. The Pardaillan Knights series was Liviana’s first serious reading, in the first grade. “I recall that we had this moment, we were going out, my mother and I, and for her to make me go, she would have to say each time ‘I’m also buying you a book’, and she always did that, so I was reading the entire book on my way back home. The whole walk was like this, I would hold my book, reading, and my mom would make sure that I wouldn’t stumble, by holding me by the dress I was wearing”, Liviana says.
She was a desired child. Her mother had two boys and she took the risk to bear one more, although she was suffering from a critical cardiac disease because she wanted a girl so badly. After she gave birth to Liviana she felt into a coma for three days. She hoped that the girl would remain home with her when she grew up, but Liviana, rebel as she remembers being, was the first to leave home. She went to Bucharest so she could become a lawyer, but she turned out to be a journalist. The Romanian language was the one to take her there and the one to save her life a couple of times, she believes. She owes everything she is to television, since it’s the place where she learned how to be a woman of skill.
In 2009 Liviana’s life was an ideal one. She had a life partner, she was the head of the News department at the most important news television at that moment, she was involved in other projects and had plenty of money so she wouldn’t have a care in the world. She went to the bank and made the decision to buy a house and a car and she didn’t think there’s any chance for that puzzle to crumble. She then thought it’s the right moment to have a baby and this is how David was born.
The financial crisis which hadn’t been a problem until then would destroy everything Liviana had succeeded to create. At her boss’ favor to continue her maternal leave and not going back to work that year, because he wouldn’t be able to pay her, and emotionally vulnerable, Liviana accepted staying home. Three months later found herself in an unimaginable financial dead end. “There would’ve been the three of us who had to live from that allowance: my baby, his father who had lost his job and I. And we also had to pay each month the mortgage which was twice as much as the allowance.”, she says.
The stress of that time affected the 10 years long relationship Liviana had with her life partner, causing them to break up, Liviana becoming a single mom. The bank threatened with eviction, she sold the car, trying to cover her debt, but they were bigger every day. To make things worse, nobody wanted to hire her. She had such an impressive career, that everyone thought she was overqualified.
“My expectations weren’t big at all, I just wanted a job that could offer me the chance to buy some formula for my baby. It was that simple…But everybody imagined that they couldn’t afford my services because I would be too expensive”, Liviana says.
Afraid not to end up homeless with her little boy, after she had already lost her partner, her TV job, and her car, Liviana made some huge efforts to keep the house, believing as she was taught that she would be stronger by owning a house. A vicious circle, trying to make ends meet, until the day she decided to give up.
The bank evicted her and she took her son and moved next block, in a rented apartment that had two rooms.“I instantly felt that all the burden was discharged and I realized that not having a house and a partner is not something that defines me. On the contrary, I was overwhelmed by the situation, I was crying at nights, having panic attacks, hell broke loose. Knowing your kid is in the other room and you haven’t got any clue if you can afford to buy more diapers, but still having to keep up the appearances…It’s an enormous conflict”, she says.
The hardest thing was that she wasn’t even able to talk to her family about her situation. She had been financially and emotionally supporting them, her parents being sick, Liviana’s brothers being away. So that conflict kept on growing on the inside.
“It was horrible and I have been physically affected also, trying to protect myself, to fence everybody off, so I gain weight a lot, I was weighing 104 kilos (229 pounds). I haven’t spoken with anybody, kept it all to myself, I guess my family doesn’t know, not even now, what was that nightmare’s real dimension”, Liviana says.
And the nightmare didn’t stop there. The fact that she had given up and the house was repossessed didn’t miraculously covered her huge debts. Finally, she managed to find a job, one that got her to her career starting point, she was a website editor for a European project.
“Journalists know that this is an entry-level job, so from where I was the news head department, having been to CNN, a superheroine, now I was the girl writing the website content. But it didn’t seem not one second to be under my dignity, I was coming from a world where every job and opportunity was a life savior”, she says.
The project’s communication director moved abroad, so Liviana got his job. She didn’t seem to be able to stay afloat, there were always ups and downs. The project was over after a while, so she had to look for a job again. She started working again as a TV producer and took on other projects as well, so she managed to recover from her losses.
Her savings were a few tens of thousands euros, borrowed other tens of thousands, trying to open up a Communication and Media classes school and, for the second time in her life, she lost it all. Her business attempt proved out to be a failure. Another experience she didn’t say a word about. “I had a breakdown, the worse depression I could have suffered from. Last summer was a nightmare for me. I send my son to his grandmother the whole vacation, I think I saw him twice. And for three months I didn’t leave the house”, Liviana says.
She had a very good friend that would come and drink a lemonade with her once or twice a week, just to be sure that she was still alive, but not even him knew about Liviana’s situation.
She was going through such a hard time that she can’t remember how she lived. The only details her mind is giving her access to are those related to David. The distance between them was the one that helped Liviana grieve all she had to, but, at the same time, David was her only connection with the real world. Without that one, Liviana doesn’t think that she would have been able to go forward.
“I don’t know if I would have looked up for solutions because there were moments I felt like completely giving up and then I would hear his voice telling me ‘Mom, I’m a little busy now, talk to you later, bye’, and then hanging up. And I said to myself that this is a careless child, why should he worry because of me? That wasn’t my job, my job was to assure of him being exactly as he was: careless”, she says.
So Liviana kept on finding solutions, for David didn’t have any time to spend on problems. She gathered all the strength left and she started taking steps to get out of that story. She received an invitation to master a storytelling class, for free, at a bloggers woman school and she said yes, her class was very appreciated. From that moment on life surprised her.
“I guess I was lucky then, very lucky, for keeping myself together and because the solution came from where I have never expected. Now that you are asking me, I can figure out that the solution was in my childhood, with the first letters handed under my brother’s board, with the first letter, those first books and my mom carrying me not to stumble. I got home to myself, also having David who is pretty much the same age with me at that time”, Liviana says.
It has been a year now since life had revealed her one thing after another, things that she didn’t even searched for, but found her home. Turning 40 years old, she wishes to live the rest of her life by showing what she has learned so far. She has succeeded once again to recover from losses, by working hard, and soon as she will move with David in a three rooms apartment, still rented, but closer to David’s school.“I’m at the highlight of my life, living now that happy moment, the happiest of my entire life, when I can do whatever I want to, and if I can’t find my place, I’m creating it”, she says.
So she has founded three projects: “Smart Schooling”, a media project for high school students, another one for the ones who love writing, “The Writing School”, running storytelling workshops in different cities, and the newest one is called “Around the world in 100 books”. Once a month Liviana goes to a European city following the steps of a writer she admires, so in the following ten years, at least, she will do these things that she loves most, reading, traveling and writing, teaching others to collect chapters in their own stories. Proving that you can make a living out of writing.
Above all, she wishes most to be on her own two feet, looking at the glass half full, so David can have a healthy model and to continue wanting to be a man of skill, just like his mother is. David’s father used to come visit once a year on his birthday. For the past two years, he didn’t.
If anything, this story is about unconditional love, the only one that can’t become rusty because a financial crisis, the only one that makes David shout with joy “You are the best mom a kid could wish for and I love you!”, and the only one that kept Liviana alive. So much, that she can still trust herself and the others, enough to say “yes” again, in case a new relationship will show up. She confesses that she is not looking for one, but, for the first time, she is not rejecting it. If it will come knocking on the door of her heart, it will find her home.
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