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How I Lie to Seek My Truth [Little Lies]

Atmospheric teal green square abstract painting

Little Lies, 2015

When I was a teenager living in Toronto, I worked as a waitress at a restaurant that was part of a fancy fitness club. I got the job because I lied about experience. I had worked for two years as a busgirl, not a waitress, at another restaurant. Maybe the manager was complicit. After all, he knew I was only 18.

One of my first customers, a nice, middle-aged man, ordered what sounded to me as a "la-guh". I didn't know what it was, but I trundled off to the bar and, mustering confidence, asked the bartender for a laguh.

He asked if the customer was British. I nodded, then he handed me a lager. He might have also asked if I had ever waitressed before.

It's not the first time I pretended to be something I'm not. Maybe it's my way of overcoming fear. Leap and the net will appear. Or say you can do it, then do it. 

I have to admit that it's gotten me into a pickle. Like the time I applied for my first juried art show before I had a body of work. I was both elated and horrified when I was accepted. Then I went into a painting frenzy.

Yet, this idea of pretense works the other way for me, too. For instance, even after having completed nine marathons and many triathlons, I still felt like I wasn't really an athlete. I was merely pretending.

Recently, someone asked what I did for a living. I replied, "I'm an artist. I paint." It sounded strange to hear myself say that. After five years of painting, I feel like I'm still pretending to be an artist... as if my 25-year graphic design career doesn't count.

I suppose that's okay. In a way, it's just wordplay. Maybe one of these days my brain will catch up with my heart that knows I've been an artist all along.