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the storyteller

Tania Peralta is a storyteller, writer, spoken word poet, and artist. Her story of coming to Canada is one she shares proudly and with raw vulnerability.

Much of Tania’s current creative practice focuses on her story of identity, familial relationships, and displacement. Through her indie press Peralta House, she supports other Canadian Latinx and POC artists who want to share their stories, too.

Quick Facts

Tania Peralta

Storyteller, Writer, Spoken Word Poet and Artist

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@julezsantania

I’m a woman. I’m a mom. I’m a minority. I’m somebody who’s not from here. I think that’s what you see, maybe, when you see me out with my family, but internally I’m so many things that you do not see. My story will become poetry, or a monologue, or a book — or any way I can express my different identities and ideas.

I came to Canada when I was 5 years old. But my parents moved before us, so my sisters and I were left with extended family in Honduras. I somehow don’t feel that I’m from here or from there, and I think that’s a feeling shared by many immigrants.

My life changed a lot when I had my daughter. I was only 21 years old when she was born. There was a lot more downtime than I was used to, time at home, but also, I needed to find dedicated time to be with myself in a way I didn’t need to think about before.

My self-rituals have become ceremonial. At night, I’ll sit in stillness in my tiny corner workspace, just me and my joint, and I’ll write. It’s about intentionally entering a different state, one where I’m able to access different parts of myself. Cannabis is very linked to my process as a writer, and I prefer to consume cannabis when I’m alone. It helps me ask myself the kinds of questions that I would otherwise never feel safe enough to ask. I have grown to value stillness.


Being an artist of any kind is really about finding the time and space to find that wonder again.

I’m not sure what the other parents at my daughter’s school think of me. I think some people are afraid of me. I don’t know if it’s my hair or what it is [laughs]. When I’m in the “mom” setting, sometimes I wonder if I should tone my identity down so that it’s easier for my daughter. But on the other hand, it’s not like we can really hide who we are, can we? We live in a pretty white neighbourhood. Will legalization change the way those parents feel about my daughter coming from weed-smoking parents? Maybe over time, but I’m not sure. The roots of prejudice grow deep, you know?

My daughter is three years old, and when I look at her I realize that she has so much. The iPad is in front of her, and with it the whole world at her fingertips. When you’re a kid whose world revolves around immigration, it’s a very different experience. There isn’t much room for childhood curiosity. I think many immigrants often get robbed of that time to be full of wonder because we often have to grow up so much faster. Being an artist of any kind is really about finding the time and space to find that wonder again.

I find that people who have gone through a lot often have the courage to reach higher and go further as artists. If I survived those hard things as a little girl, what can’t I do now as a grown woman? I have proven that I am resilient.

Photography by Angela Lewis

 

 

Telling my story as an immigrant and Latina woman in Canada is very important to me, because it may be a more common story in the US, but in Canada, there isn’t a lot of attention paid to Latin artists and stories.

 

Coyotes is a story I needed to tell because it was the most transparent introduction of myself that I could give as a writer and artist. My story of coming here, being from somewhere else, that’s my foundation. These early experiences inform all the many identities that are a part of me now.

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Stillness is my word. It’s my mantra.

I moved to Toronto when I was 17 and everything was fast. You feel the rhythm of these other creative people around you and that’s a high in itself. But then you crash when you’re by yourself and you’re useless. You don’t know who you are, you only know who you’re pretending to be.

I have learned that I need to make time for stillness, because I desperately need those moments to reset and reflect. It’s a daily therapy. If you can sit down at the end of the day and check in with yourself, it means you’re taking care of yourself. That time at the end of my day, my little nighttime ritual helps me block out the rest of the world and kind of tune into myself. Without this time, I don’t think I would succeed in anything. But when I give myself this time, all my ideas that start as quiet thoughts, they become possible.