We are so pleased to share this powerful submission by community member and artist, Meredith Pennebaker. Meredith is passionate about illustration which ties in nicely with her love of reading fantasy and science fiction. She was raised in Detroit, spent most of her twenties in Chicago and Wyoming, and has lived in Mississippi for the past five years. Some of her past professions before settling into art have been: barista, brewer, baker, bookkeeper, and bartender.
Where do I find my confidence as an artist?
I had been bartending for less than 12 months, and I had no problem telling complete strangers that I was a bartender. After all, I earned money as a bartender, I had a cool bartending apron, and I knew how to make a mean Old Fashion (hint: less is more). It was a slow Saturday brunch shift. A lady sat down, alone, and ordered. Like most bar guests who sit alone, she wanted small talk. I asked about her day. She asked about mine. She asked how long I had been a bartender. 11 months. I asked if she had any plans for her day. Haircut. Then she asked if I did anything else besides bartending. So, there I was, shaking her Moscow Mule. The tin was getting cold in my hand, and expectation was building on her face. I strained her ginger libation into a highball, and I thought about her question. Did I do anything else besides bartend?
As I passed her the drink, I replied, “I’m an artist.”
As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I panicked. I had never met this woman in my life, and yet I knew that she knew I was lying. She was going to call me out. She would stand upon her barstool and beckon those around her to toast to my humiliation and throw lime wedges at me. With my breath held, I waited for her reaction. Soon there would be laughter. At best, I expected a pity-filled look that said behold, another starving art