@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
“How do we feel about this…” the start of a six part message too early on a Tuesday morning in a group chat to three of my most trusted advisors/friends/fellow artists…
“A ‘fan’ wants to Venmo me money. He says he is fortunate enough to still be working and has decided to divide up his stimulus check to specific artists he has followed over the years that he thinks may be struggling in the pandemic…
“Even if him wanting to give me money is just genuine ‘here, artist, you have entertainment me for free for a long time— I shall reward you’—the Catholic dilemma is that I LOATHE charity and yet encourage charity with all my being…
“I guess my internal struggle is that I’m okay with a donation in the sense that it’s a coin in my hat and I’ve been a trumpeter in the park playing my instrument and I accept and appreciate that maybe you enjoyed my “creation” of sound or words AS LONG AS you’re also supporting someone else who needs this more than me…
“Is this too much thinking before 9am on a Tuesday?”
With little hesitation, the verdict was: “Lori, take the money. You need it.”
Additionally, my one friend wondered why I would be so hesitant to accept money/reward for something I deserve. For example, if one has a Patreon and people subscribe (and pay them) it is not charity— you’re providing a service. Yes, if you’re an entertainer, our ’services’ or completely non-essential, but creatives often do have a skill set that most other people either do not have or never had the discipline to hone.
But deserving it hadn’t even occurred to me.
Now, herein is a great example of why I wasn’t as successful in comedy as I could have been. So much of it is out of your control. There’s a hell of a lot of luck and fate happening. But having little grasp on what your worth is on an artist, or conversely, being unsure if you deserve reward at all, is enough doubt to not ask for more money, to be afraid to speak up when someone has paid you less than they promised because you’re afraid you won’t get booked again, or maybe even being completely neutral to getting paid (sounds ridiculous, I know).
As a libertarian, I’m completely married to the thought that you are allowed to do with your money whatever the hell you want to (provided it’s not evil). So why would I be especially opposed to someone wanting to help me?
Oh man, there’s a lot of psychological unpacking here that could take years of therapy, but we don’t have that type of time (actually, maybe we do?).
Am I looking into the barrel of financial trouble? You better believe it. Does this give me anxiety every single goddamn day? But of course.
I’m eligible for food stamps but refuse to get them. I’m too prideful to set up a go-fund-me, and while I think ‘go-fund-me’s’ can be a great service, I also find some to be entirely pathetic. My ‘go-fund-me’ would be my finger hovering over John and Donna Palminteri’s speed dial for a small loan—something I feel conflicted shame and pride for. Shame because my parents had raised us all so fiercely independent that even asking my own parents for money feels like a failure on my part. Conversely, while my parents are rich by no one’s standards, they have lived their lives so independently that they don’t owe shit to anyone, and so, they could comfortably help their kin if they need it. This is something I am proud of. I am proud of them. I am proud to be their kid. And I want to be just like them in that regard.
Now I feel like I’ve completely digressed from a point I was going to make, but I don’t even remember what that point was.
No… this isn’t some ploy for me to ask people to venmo me money (have I not driven home my inner conflict of accepting help in any way shape or form?). But this small donation did make me feel appreciated and somewhat validated as a working artist (haha) and literally fed me. I am not ungrateful. In fact, I am wholly grateful and still feel undeserving.
Thanks for paying it forward. Doesn’t matter if it’s to me. If you’re taking care of yourself and loved ones first, and also then donating money to St. Judes or something, and then still have something left over and you decide to pay it forward, thanks. The world needs more of it. There is no such thing as too much kindness.
Personally, while I am for sure not humanities number one fan– I do not think we deserve the current amount of suffering in the world.