That's What She Said

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Melissa Carter: Symbols to help you navigate the holiday season

Melissa CarterStress. Thanksgiving weekend has a way of piling on the stress for a lot of us every year. Regardless of whether the stressor is connected to the size of the turkey, layovers in Omaha, dealing with car rental companies or the joy of hours spent in a room with certain family members, the idea of thankfulness can get lost in the chaos.

This year, I suggest you create a symbol, something which represents the idea of appreciation. It will help get you through the weekend and weeks ahead with joy and remind you to be thankful regardless of what you may be dealing with this holiday season.

I recently gave a speech to hundreds of patients who had either received an organ transplant or were waiting for one. As a kidney transplant recipient, I talked about my challenging days on dialysis and showed the audience items I use today to remember the lessons I learned while sick.

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Melissa Carter: Aging with pride

Melissa CarterI am a 41-year-old woman who is proud of my age. I give no apology for being born in 1970 and I am looking forward to my future. However, these days it seems that I can’t escape the constant messages that I should be pining for the good ole’ days of youth.

According to most advertising messages I see, my body is withering away by the second. And it will require all the money in my 401k to repair the damage.

While running errands the other day, an ad came on the radio that began, “Women over 40 have weight gain due to a hormonal imbalance.”  I was then told that it would be impossible to stay thin at my age unless I bought some type of medication that I am sure the FDA has never heard of.

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Melissa Carter: A story to get you in the Halloween mood

Melissa CarterIn honor of Halloween season, I wanted to share a story I heard on the Roswell Ghost Tour. I love this time of year when our imaginations are allowed to roam free. So for all of you with ghoulish minds wide open, this one is for you.

Susan tripped on something in the hallway.

Ouch! What was that? Susan squinted and looked on the floor to see what she had tripped over. She saw that the culprit had been one of Alison’s dolls that had been left in the hallway near her daughter’s closed bedroom door. In fact, several of Alison’s dolls were on the floor, lined up perfectly next to one another, side-by-side, along the baseboard.

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Melissa Carter: Gay parents, don’t be like this

Former Atlanta Disc-Jockey Melissa CarterHelicopter parents. It’s a term originally coined in the book “Parenting with Love and Logic” by Dr. Foster Cline and Jim Fay, and refers to parents who hover over their children like a helicopter. Gay moms and dads, don’t let this be you.

I was not aware of how prevalent helicopter parenting was until I recently had dinner with a friend who is a teacher. She told me that on the first day of school this year she witnessed parents coming in to stock and organize their children’s lockers. Not just one kid’s parents, several.

Oh, and did I mention she is a high school teacher? I thought it was a joke until she reassured me she wasn’t kidding.

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Melissa Carter: Pride can mean more than a party

Former Atlanta Disc-Jockey Melissa CarterBreak out that gaudy rainbow attire because Pride is back in town! I have to be honest: I had a hard time deciding what to write about this week in honor of Pride.

Among the choices was my first Pride celebration in 1992 when I was still in the closet. Weaving my way among the 60,000 people I realized with watering eyes that I was not the only lesbian on the planet. Or ten years later, when I was honored to be a grand marshal in the Pride Parade. I was in kidney failure and on dialysis, but my friends made sure to crank the AC in the convertible that day so I wouldn’t pass out.

There are great memories of marching in the parade every year afterward with Q100, even pushing my way down Peachtree Street in a torrential downpour. If the crowd was getting drenched while celebrating, I thought, so would I.