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@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
Sheets. Stage. Sea.
My therapist noted my sheer discomfort in our sessions, and I let her know that this was me in a more comfortable setting. Hearing about how sensitive I really am and how I shield it has quickly become a bore, to be honest. When asked what I thought would make me happy, I replied, “a remote writing job, where I could work in Hawaii, far, far away from other people.” Without missing a beat, she said, “I think your problem is you need to be around other people.”
A part of me agrees with her. More and more if feels like I could use a chaperone in the morning. Just someone to tell me to wake up and write something. Anything at all. Doesn’t matter. No matter what it is it will make me feel better. I know this and I still resist it. It’s not so healthy to be so alone so much. Another part of me couldn’t disagree more. Be around more people? Have you been outside lately? They’re awful. They make me uncomfortable.
“Where do you feel comfortable?”
“At home,” I said, “by myself.” Yes, I am quite silly in the comforts of my own home, in better moods I do little dances and talk to myself and answer.
“On stage, too,” I added, “which I guess is kind of odd.”
“It is and isn’t,” she said, this therapist is known for seeing comics, a relief because I don’t have to explain certain things about my lifestyle and industry. “Because you’re not comfortable in your own skin. So when you are on stage, you are either stepping out of your skin, or you’re stepping into who you really are, in a sense.” It would really benefit us both is she saw me do stand up. My jokes do explaining unto themselves.
She’s not wrong, but she is also wrong. Stage persona Lori and real life Lori share the same sensibility— a darkness with a strong side of sarcasm. A mutual love for mocking it all, especially the darkness. Stage Lori is everything I want to be, brave— clever, doesn’t hold back even if it means being mean, unafraid. Off stage, I shrink. Small. Insignificant. On stage, I don’t give a fuck and it’s freeing. Offstage, I either care so much it hurts, or I care so little that I don’t want to be me anymore. One way or the other. It really doesn’t matter. I’m really just the same.
“And the ocean!” I exclaim, there it is, that childlike wonder. I feel comfortable in the ocean. I feel safe, even knowing there might be a shark nearby.
“I suppose that’s also a bit odd. Most people are afraid to go in the ocean.”
“Well,” she says, my therapist, “we are meant to be on land.”
“I am scared of the ocean too, sometimes,” I tell her the time I almost drowned. How close that one time, I still think it somewhat a miracle I didn’t. The other times, how my brother came to my side. “But I know my limitations and I know how to read the rips. You can love something so much and be terrified of it at the same time.”
The stage. A hopeless dream. My sheets. A dream too frequently I don’t want to wake from. The sheets, the stage, the sea.
I am trying to not be so dark on here. It may not seem like it, but I am making a legitimate effort. Depression, unfortunately, I think is a really big part of who I am. Which is unfortunate. It would rot anyone from the inside out, what if it’s contagious? If it is, I’d rather be alone. Alone in my sheets. Alone on the stage. Alone, in a car, driving to the sea.
“No offense,” I want to tell my therapist, “but I don’t think you can help me, not really, anyway.”
But you are here. Why are you here, Lori? Why are you here dropping money from a very tiny tiny savings account. You know you think about places you can travel to (by the sea) with the money you’re spending on this. Yeah, but I’ll counter myself, this is long overdue. And I actually like this woman. Trust her as much as I’m capable of trusting anyone, which is an issue we’ve only scraped over a few times. How many therapists have we met with that you immediately mistrusted or thought they were crazy? All of them. Except her. What makes her different? Comics told me she helped them. A comedian’s word holds more weight.
Am I really here for help, I wonder. Certainly to blow off some steam. Confess. Your sins don’t need forgiving. Your sins need acceptance. There’s a difference. Am I really here for help? Or is this a thinly veiled hail Mary? Is this a false effort to get better so I can check it off, so I can say, “I tried that and it didn’t work,” and begin my true intention of self destruction. Leave no room for resurrection. That, I think, has been the plan all along. Only certain things, sometimes situations or circumstance, sometimes people, get in the way. And I’m thankful for them. I’m thankful for the dance, even if only for a little while. Though too often it’s already too late when you look down at your hand, and no one’s holding it, just air. Too often, you raise your head and realize you haven’t been dancing to music at all, just the sounds of the wind.
And then it’s still again.
It’s not so depressing to me at all that there are moments, people, places— waves, jokes, books— that make me forget about how it all ends. That make me pause. If I’m smiling, I’ll stay, at least for a little while.
“You don’t know how anything ends,” my therapist says. But she’s wrong. She knows too because I told her. I’d like to know more about her. More about her life, her darkness. That’s not how therapy works, however.
It’s not supposed to be sad. Nihilism is only a drag to people who fear freedom of steering fate.
It’s not supposed to be sad. If raw is relatable then it serves another purpose.
It’s not supposed to be sad. Your life. My therapist and I agree: life isn’t supposed to be necessarily anything at all. And being sad is okay, but it shouldn’t always be that way.
And it doesn’t feel so sad. Because I’m so used to it. Maybe that’s one of the problems. Being so comfortable in discomfort.
Let me stay in my sheets.
Let write for the stage.
Let me return to the ocean.