@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
Despite a childhood of my siblings deeming me “the perfect child” or even my writing partner, Nick Griffin, pitching his voice up mocking me, “I’m Lori and I’m so perfect,” like anyone else, I am as far from perfect as Earth is from the sun. Which, I suppose is a good thing, or the Earth would burn up sooner than it already is.
Even though social media is a necessary evil of my world, as a writer and a comedian, and even though there’s a great many benefits to social media, we are often posting our “best of” reels, leaving out hardships, ugly selfies, traumas and our massive flaws.
Not all my flaws are “massive.” In fact, they are simply human. But I’d like to share some of them.
Let’s start with the personality flaws and then move on to my physical ones.
Even though I’m much better than I used to be when I was younger, I still often struggle to be “present” unless I’m doing something a little extreme, including surfing, stand up, writing for a TV show, partying with booze or drugs. Even during sex I sometimes struggle to be in the moment, which, ruins sex.
This of course is connected to my predisposition to mood swings and the wounded depressive child that is a part of my soul. Some of this even stems from this need to be perfect, an impossible endeavor. There was a time I was on multiple meds to keep myself from wavering into the darkness, but today I only take one. This is somewhat of a triumph. But I still hate that I could be wrapped in cloud of funk and become numb at almost any time, sometimes even without being triggered by circumstance.
On occasion, I write about all my accomplishments. This is somewhat to brag about myself, to prove that hard work pays off. Though, it’s equally to remind myself that I am making progress. Progress takes forever. So much longer than you want it to. As you get older, the years slip by faster, and I do a shit ton of self analysis and I go, “damn, I suck, I’m missing boats left and right— why aren’t I more successful? Maybe I’m just not that good.” It has forever been difficult for me to give my wins more credit than my failures. And when you’re a writer, your failures outweigh your wins. You must pay your dues and then overpay them on top of that. I kick myself for not producing more. Or second guessing, third guessing, fourth guessing and not just doing.
So I’m insecure. Who isn’t? (Liars, that’s who. Also, sociopaths.) That doesn’t mean I don’t know I’m talented, it’s just a perpetual questioning of being good enough. Is this good enough? Am I good enough? And the answer to this question is often, you can be better. But the trick is to not fall into the trap of hiding behind your own need to be better.
More than anything, I wish I could sleep like a normal fucking person. The first insomnia spell I experienced was in high school, and it’s been haunting me ever since. Sure, it comes and goes but just like the tides, it does come. My work schedule doesn’t help this either. Insomnia has horrible side effects on both your mental well being and physical health. While I don’t think it’s a bad thing to go over your day at the end of the day, it’s not healthy to go over it 30 times, and then also go over last week and next week, and then think about your life and other’s lives, and stories and places you want to travel, and why do I fall for the wrong people and struggle to connect with some good people and then, oh shit it’s 3am, for the love of god, I just want to sleep.
Furthermore, I can’t even tell you the last time I had a dreamless sleep. Or even a dreamless nap for that matter. Oh no. My brain literally never shuts off. Just last night I had a dream I was about to have sex with someone (not sure who) and they bit me and turned me into a vampire. I was furious because that meant I could never be in the sun again, which is my favorite thing. More than not, I do like my weird ass dreams (and they get weird). Sometimes they are beautiful. But I do have a lot of stress dreams, and also nightmares where I wake up sweating and have to turn on the light cause I’m scared. Yes, I realize at 33 that’s kind of ridiculous. But if you had my brain at night, you’d understand.
Now, for the physical stuff. First and foremost, I wish I could fix my hearing. As a kid, I was riddled with middle ear infections which damaged my hearing. As I’ve gotten older and abused loud music, my hearing is on the decline. It’s actually starting to scare me a bit. I love music, the sound of my nephews/niece laughing, the tunes of nature or waves crashing… the thought of permanently losing my hearing is completely devastating. I’m hoping the technology for fixing ear drums with lasers is within my lifetime.
I also have IBS. My IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) is party hereditary and partly mental because I have a lot of anxiety. Without grossing you all out, let’s just say I poop far more than the average person. My stomach rejects a lot of foods which is embarrassing and I’m often in the throes of a bathroom emergency.
For sure, if I could, I’d fix the herniated discs in my neck. While they aren’t a perpetual source of pain, the pain does come and go. I go for electrode acupuncture treatments and massages (neither are cheap) when I feel stiff and sore. The pain is manageable, but ever present.
The thing I can fix, I just haven’t, is my deviated septum and sinus polyps. I’m unsure exactly how I deviated my septum (soccer? surfing? falling off a jetski?) as there have been at minimum a handful of times I got whacked in the nose and it bled. Sure enough, it is deviated, basically making it impossible for me to breath fully clear at any time. Furthermore, like my father, I have sinus polyps that also make me slightly congested 24/7 and prone to sinus infections. Fixing a deviated septum would improve my breathing, but if/when I ever get it done, I kind of want the bump on my nose shaved down a little bit, making my nose slightly smaller/symmetrical. This is one of my physical insecurities and where my vanity comes in.
Mostly, I like my face, which is a good thing. But right now, I currently have to put a cream on my upper lip because I have something called ‘melasma.’ This is not a serious condition, and it’s not caused by anything but genetics (though it can be made worse by sun exposure). Basically, it just means your skin is darkening unevenly. It’s a fixable condition and painless, but it does take a while to remedy/even out your skin tone.
My parents keep reminding me I need to straighten out my bottom teeth. Back in middle school, my folks did pay a lot of money to fix my teeth with braces. I never really wore my retainer post braces, so the bottom teeth did shift. I would like to fix them too, not simply for vanity reasons, but straight teeth minimizes plaque which is linked to more than just oral problems (plaque build up is connected to heart health, stomach health and dementia). Today, they have a lot of great ways to fix your teeth without the hideous braces I had as a kid. However, it does cost a lot of money. Sometimes I think I’m going to invest in this and then I start looking at places to travel and I’m like “do I really want to spend $3000 fixing my teeth or spend $1500 on a vacation?” I can’t afford both and a vacation has won every time.
At the moment, I’m in good shape which I do work hard for (eating healthy and exercising regularly), but keeping that belly flat is constant work. Constant. I don’t have complaints about that right now, and I’m fortunate to have a great metabolism, even though I can feel the metabolism slowing down. I always want a flat stomach though.
This doesn’t bother me much, but it would be nice to have a little more of a butt. When I gain weight, it is all in my boobs and my stomach (a little in my arms). My legs and butt will not gain weight. It is basically impossible. I wish instead of my belly growing some of that fat would displace itself to my bony ass. It never has, and I suspect it never will.
Would I even be a woman if I didn’t have some form of body dysmorphia (haha).
I could nitpick myself further (I have before), and even though I am a perpetual work in progress, I am actually the most comfortable with myself right now than my entire previous adulthood. And, I’m not going to say anyone is perfect the way they are. That simply is not true. If I accepted myself as perfect ten years ago, I wouldn’t have worked on myself (specifically my mental health) in order to improve. Even though people today (especially women) are under a tremendous amount of pressure to compete with what someone looks like in a filter, remember that Instagram model is in a filter. And also, they’re probably insanely insecure if they need people to like their photos all the time. They probably need therapy.
Learning to love yourself is super important. But so is taking care of yourself. I’m all for body positivity, but sometimes we really do need to take hard looks in the mirror and ask ourselves if we’re getting enough nutrition or eating too much fat/sugar, are we getting enough exercise, do we need to meditate, spend time in nature, connect with what is real? I think it’s important to recognize how to improve, but never forget to embrace yourself along the way, flaws and all.