Here’s what really matters…

Comedy can be rather simple. Really! Because the key to success in almost any scene is to define a relationship. Who are you to the other person? How does the other person make you feel? How do you feel about him/her?

And how are you going to COMMUNICATE all of that so that your partner on stage and your audience in the crowd know what’s going through your head?

You could use body language, action, perhaps simply words. The choice is yours, and the choice lets the other person know that this moment really matters.

Just today, in fact, my partner in crime and I exchanged our excitement for working together by smashing the top-secret computers in our spy headquarters. We knew right then and there how much we each valued this precious moment. (Granted, this was all in an improvised world, and smashing computers isn’t exactly what I have in mind for the day-to-day, but you get the idea).

And the truth of this lesson doesn’t end on the comedy stage.

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Imagine if, passing your neighbor, you stopped and told that person how much it means to see her smile on the stairs. Imagine if, while sitting on the bus, the man whose name you can’t recall tells you how much he enjoys these 6 a.m. conversations over speed bumps. Imagine if we told the people who impact our lives just that: you make a difference in my day. Imagine if we reminded others why this moment with them is important.

It only takes a second to pause and reflect on the relationship. It only takes the truth to make an impact. It only takes you to make a difference on another person’s day.

For more improv comedy lessons, take your turn on stage with classes. Might I recommend ImprovBoston in Cambridge, MA? Or, if you live in Colorado, check out Voodoo Comedy and Grafenberg Productions. You’re in for a great time!

© 2017 Mirissa D. Price: A Dental Student, A Writer, A Journey to Share.

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Where Have I Been?

Hey there! It’s been awhile.

And I know some of you may be wondering … where has Mirissa been?

The simple answer: Dental School.

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The real answer: home.

In my absence from blogging, I have been

  • Learning to drill.
  • Meeting with my very first patient (where I was the dentist!!)
  • Volunteering as a pediatric dentist for the greatest of kids ♥♥♥
  • And studying oral health, systemic health, mental health, and everything in between. You can’t separate a smile from the rest of the body and mind!

In a nutshell, life’s been busy. And I’m going to be honest: I didn’t always stop to take the time for myself. I was:

  • Tired
  • Overwhelmed
  • Perhaps a little bit driven 😉

And I let excuses carry me away from my writing!

To be fair, though, I still made time for:

  • Friends
  • Laughter
  • 5 am sunrises
  • And the walk around Cambridge

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And I have had the most fulfilling, incredible time working with my patients, and learning a new set of skills. The challenge is never-ending and the reward is so amazing! 

Every time a patient sits before me, I think, “Wow. What an honor to work with this individual – child or adult – to bring a healthy smile to his/her life. Could I be any more fortunate?”

But life isn’t getting any quieter…

In the next few weeks, I’ll have a new schedule of patients, a new course on my calendar, and a new journey in drilling. Things will get busy – they never stopped! But stick around, because I’m still writing through this journey, sharing my inspirations along the way, and reminding us both that self-care should never get the back-burner … but occasionally, it will have to take a side-burner when a patient’s health and smile is in my hands and the drill is moving at high-speed.

Feel free to share what brings you joy and purpose in life … but first, set your cleaning with your dentist. It’s the greatest gift you could give the both of you!

© 2017 Mirissa D. Price: A Dental Student, A Writer, A Journey to Share.

 

 

Pulling The Shame Out From Beneath The Foreskin of Rape

On one Friday the 13th, a girl was shot at a high school. A concert was playing at Red Rocks. And I was the victim of a rape.

As a writer and medical student, I have had the honor of sharing so many stories from patients and friends. I have written the human experience from perspectives so distant from my own. But in a time of need, when I turned to neighbors and friends for understanding and for a voice of reason, I didn’t find what I was seeking.

Instead, I found responsibility, and I found a pen; I found myself tasked with writing the voice of reason and humor, compassion and understanding that I so desperately sought that lukewarm December night. I can still hear my voice sometimes, as I shouted, “Please. Don’t. Stop.” at my rapist. At the time, I couldn’t hear the irony of of the words that I chose, and the order in which I said them. But that irony shouldn’t have mattered; because, even as a victim, especially as a victim, I mattered. Even as a victim, you matter.

The following article is the original submission of my story to YourTango, unedited to remain authentic to my voice. The final edit is found on the YourTango site. Please read forward with humor and care, and remember how brightly a survivor now smiles this Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

41 Thoughts You Have After A Sexual Assault That No One Ever Talks About

Because it’s time we pull the shame out from beneath the foreskin of rape.

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‘If you are a victim of sexual assault, you are not alone.’ Or so I heard about ten too many times after my sexual assault. ‘Others have been through worse.’ ‘So many men and women overcome this trauma.’ ‘You survived.’ As if rape is a rite of passage into womanhood! 

Newsflash: IT ISN’T!

But what I didn’t hear, what no one would talk about, were the thoughts that come after the assault. And I’m not talking PTSD, panic in the mind and body after. Yes, those exist. Yes, they interfere with sex and self-esteem and life in general. And yes, so many people are out there sharing guidance for those issues, myself included. But what about the sexual thoughts that follow rape? And the thoughts of empowerment? What about every single aspect of life that this criminal has just thrown upside down as carelessly as he threw my body against the car door?  Where are the advice columns for that?

Because, guess what?  What he did to me was NOT okay; in fact, it was a crime! And yet, in losing control, in seeing sex through a demon’s eyes and from behind the blade of a knife, I came to be empowered. I came to speak my mind. And I came to a decision to finally share the 41 thoughts you have after a sexual assault that no one ever talks about. Because, let’s face it: the crime and not the reaction is the real shame.

1. They’ll call you a ‘survivor.’ They will say you are ‘so strong’ for fighting back, for getting away.  They will say ‘there are so many who have been through this kind of trauma.’ And ‘you will get through.’ But they won’t know how to make the ‘getting through’ feel safe. They won’t leave space for thoughts that feel weak. Or dirty. Or gloriously wrong. They won’t acknowledge the part of the assault that wasn’t sexy but made you grow in sexuality. Because, thought number 1, you did grow in sexuality.

2. And listen, you don’t need to hear how ‘so many’ men and women have been through this kind of experience. It’s not a shared gateway to adulthood. It’s not a rite of passage. It’s a crime, plain and simple.

3. Because if rape is a rite of passage, a human experience, where does that leave sexual assault? A half-rite of passage, a half-human’s existence? You are almost a man/woman, but sorry, you escaped a moment too soon. I mean, seriously.

4. Though, sometimes, you do think about the people who went through more, and through less. You think of how many there are.

5. And, let’s be honest. You’re selfish. Because you know how hard it is to explain to someone that you are a virgin, but you have been sexually assaulted, but no, you have not felt a penis inside you.

6. Because you dissociated too soon. Not that it matters, because when you do finally land naked on tossed sheets, you’ll forget where you are. You’ll go back to that night with that rapist with his penis.

7. His penis never really does leave your body. Every stroke of your skin, every touch of a man. Your body remembers.

8. And sometimes, that memory feels good. Too good.

9. So you just say it: an assault isn’t something to ‘get over’ or ‘through.’ It’s over. And you and him are most certainly through. But he never leaves you, or your bed, or your sex life.

10. You have never told your partner, though, that you’re in a threesome– you, your lover, and your memory of a rapist.

11. As long as you feel safe. But when you feel weak, when you feel tired, that’s when the memories matter. When the memories hurt.

12. And you have to be honest.

13. And you have to grow strong. Because of your rapist. You have to.

14. Remember, he called your body beautiful. You are beautiful. He called you ravenous. You are ravenous. And why the hell shouldn’t you believe him? Whatever his motive, you choose to believe he was honest.

15. With his feelings. With his needs. You know every crevasse of his needs.

16. So, despite the lies you told to escape, despite the lies you told to protect yourself in the moment, in the aftermath, you choose to be better than your rapist. In EVERY way. You choose to be even more honest.

17. And release the secrets verbally. Because they really do harbor shame, much the way the foreskin of his uncircumcised penis harbored STIs.

18. If only you were brave enough to get tested for STIs.

19. But there is victory. In remembering. Even though your assailant may have taken your body from you, he didn’t take your memory.

19. So now, there’s a girlfriend who knows every detail of this sad little man’s dick. And you have to wonder if for every rapist, there’s a therapist or friend who knows the details of his dick (or her vulva to be open to options).

20. And, if so, can we make a dick-tionary so police can help find these demons. Or, at least, as a reference guide so women can know one when she sees it.

21. Not that rapists can’t change. Because people can change. You sure have changed.

22. I mean, you still put on the same clothes from that night. You liked the top too much for a slimeball *no pun intended* to ruin it for you. And it was on sale.

23. But, oh boy, has your mind opened to what sex is. And what it isn’t.

24. And why ‘sexually active’ and ‘sexually protective’ are two very different things. When you go asking a doctor for birth control.

25. “I’m sorry, but ‘I want to be ready for when I am raped,’ wasn’t on the intake form as an option, and sexually active doesn’t quite cut it.”

26. Not when the first penis you saw was on a cadaver. Cold and pale, devoid of blood. Sliced open, straight down the urethra.

27. And the second was on a rapist.

28. In fact, calling rape ‘sexually active’ just has a bad aftertaste. There is nothing active about it. There is nothing intentional about lying helpless with a man’s grip around your throat.

29. But you often choose to keep those thoughts to yourself. Because a victim is supposed to be strong. A victim is supposed to move forward. A good victim is supposed to be quiet and meek.

30. And forget that! Here’s the inspiration you needed to hear back in the days after: Speak your mind. Say the truth. Accept every and any little thought you may have.

31. About rape. About sex. About your sexuality.

32. Oooh, but to put yourself and sex in the same sentence. It takes a long time to return to that place. Just a long enough time.

33. And when you get to that place, you know so much more about yourself.

34. And just how much of a right you have.

35. To say no.

36. And say no again.

37. And shout no to the world.

38. Until you are ready to say yes.

39. Not that rape is inspiring. Or glorious.

40. But you know, surviving can be just a beautiful thing!  

If you or someone you know is the victim of sexual assault, please do reach out to your local authorities and support system for help. And never fear putting pen to paper to share the words you needed to hear!
You can find the wonderful edition drafted in collaboration with the editors of YourTango by clicking HERE. Please share this piece with those who need it, and carry forward with humor and care.

Mirissa D. Price is a nighttime blogger and sometimes poet on a mission to spread pain-free smiles. She offers tips for wellness and sprinkles of humor at mirissaprice.wordpress.com, and has publications in The Huffington Post, KevinMD, and more. Though a doctor once said she would live in a nursing home for life, confined to a wheelchair, crippled by pain, Mirissa instead chose to live passionately. Now, as a 2019 DMD candidate and a future pediatric dentist, Mirissa is, in every way, spreading pain-free smiles, writing through her nights, and, once again, walking through her days.

Stay up to date with Mirissa’s writing at mirissaprice.wordpress.com and be sure to follow @Mirissa_D_Price on Twitter and Facebook. You won’t want to miss what she says next!

© 2017 Mirissa D. Price: A Dental Student, A Writer, A Journey to Share.

This article was originally published on YourTango.

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How well do you know yourself?

We’ve all seen those lists –

the mile long questionnaires to get to know yourself.  ‘What is your favorite color?’ ‘Who is your role model’ ‘What is your first childhood memory?’ 

By question number three, my attention has usually checked out!  Hence, the rather short recollection just now!  Often, I find I simply know myself already, at least when it comes to my favorite time of day and favorite hobby *cough* *cough* she says writing a blog post after midnight.

But how often have we spent the time to know our obstacles, and our challenges?  How often have we sat down with our demon of the day or barrier of the year and said, ‘Hey, you!  Let’s talk!’  

And *with voices creeping down to a whisper* how often have we dared to have those conversations in *buh-duh-duh-dum* public?!  

*GASP!*

But take a deep breath with me, dear, because the concept’s not really all that drastic.  What do we (in-the-qualified-)all really want?  Safety?  Support?  Strength?  And what is getting in the way?  Stigma?  Secrecy?  Shame?

Well, I for one have had enough of it!  San Antonio has built social emotional strength as a community, and gosh-darnit, so can we – as our own global WordPress community!  Instead of blocking, hiding, or running from our struggles, let’s take them out to tea *everyone can use the extra fluoride (within ADA guidelines, of course)* and get to know our struggles’ strengths.  Let’s get to know our struggles’ fears and weaknesses, their favorite colors and favorite times of day.  Let’s get to know, probably to start, our struggles by their names!  And, for once and all, let’s keep this conversation out in the open because change and acceptance, and a BREAK FREE FROM STIGMA begins the minute we abandon the stigma within ourselves.

And I won’t take ‘tomorrow’ for an answer!

Not even from myself!

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So, come, sit with me at tea.  I’ll bring my struggles and challenges.  You bring yours.  And let’s start at the very beginning: with a name.

‘Hey you, let’s talk!’ Question of the Day

February 10, 2017

Dear struggle.  Thank you for joining me for tea.  Remind me, what’s your name?

Do you want to join in the ‘Hey you, let’s talk!’ conversation?  Maybe you just want to get your feet wet in the idea?  Contribute your voice and your answer in the comments in as much or little detail as feels right for you!  Reblog or share with your friends if you know someone ready to fight the stigma.  Start a conversation on your blog.  Whatever path you take, we’re glad to have you out to tea with us! 

*And be sure to check the comments for my own February 10 answer!*

© 2017 Mirissa D. Price: A Dental Student, A Writer, A Journey to Share.