Allison M.

A crossdresser's thoughts on life, fashion, fabulousness, and (oh yeah) dressing up


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Wrong season, Mother Nature

Let’s start this quick post with a quick question:  What do you feel when springtime rolls around?  If you’re like me, when I see the vernal equinox on the calendar, I start to get a sense of anticipation — at the thought of days getting longer, of flowers blooming, of trees blossoming, of birds singing, of no snow in sight…

Oh, wait.

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Image source here

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#TBT: Hitting the “stage” for the first time

I hope you can forgive my bringing up Christmas in the springtime, but there was a news item this week centered around a kid in 1st grade (a subject for another post, I promise) that allowed a memory from my own days as a 1st grader to resurface in my mind.  It was December of that year, and our teacher, Miss H., had our class take part in a Christmas play.  The premise of the play was this:  Our classroom was a toy store store where the dolls and toys all came to life after the shopkeeper leaves for the night.  Yeah, it’s the whole “magic of Christmas” thing.

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A poem: “Wonder and Worry”

Here’s another poem I had previously been working on and let sit idle.  Luckily, I have finished it and am able to present it to you.  I should preface this by saying I have no plans to come out as a crossdresser to my immediate family; it’s the fear of being shunned with rejection that prevents me from doing so.  But that’s not to say I’ve never played out the possibility of doing so in my mind.  The thoughts and concerns I’ve had about coming out are the basis of this poem.  Perhaps one day I’ll have the gumption to come out and say, “Yeah, I have a female side.”  But until then, I have to…

“Wonder and Worry”

I can’t help but wonder
If I came out today
As a crossdresser and transgender?
What would the people around me say?

Should I come out to my mother
Who loves her only son?
She already has two daughters
But would she accept a third?
And would our family bond come undone?

How about my two sisters?
Would they approve?
I think the younger wouldn’t mind
But with the other, well…
I’m hesitant to make a move

Would my four nieces comprehend
About what their proud uncle would say?
I’d hope they’d all love and accept me
No matter what gender I would display
They are of a younger generation
One that’s more accepting of LGBT people such as I
But I fear their parents have molded them
To have conservative, disapproving minds

Or how about my stepfather
With whom I don’t see one-on-one?
Being the stern man that he is
Would my presenting as a woman
Be something he’d never condone?

What about those I work with?
Our company culture wouldn’t mind
But they have one major concern
Around it my whole world turns:
Whether my job wold be on the top of my mind

At least there are those like me
Those who saw another gender in the mirror
Together, we show each other support
And share our joys, hopes, and fears

I’m glad my trans sisters and brothers are there for me
But they haven’t known me as long
As the sisters, parents, nieces, aunts, and uncles
In the family I come from

I know, I can’t please everyone
I’ve got to please myself first
But if I came out
That fear of no familial support
Would leave me sad and hurt

It’s why I wonder and worry
About coming out and its repercussions
Would it bring me the joy of being myself?
Or would it leave me nothing but compunction?

Perhaps I’ll wait and see
If the coast will be clear
And then
Just maybe then
I’ll tell the world about both sides of me
And the world will hopefully be supportive
Especially the ones who I hold dear


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A poem: “High Flyer”

I’ve confessed this on here once or twice before, but I am not the greatest of public speakers.  I am also not one who’s capable of thinking on the fly.  Case in point, last Saturday night, when I took part in a “freeform” open mic performance show at Mother Fools coffee house.  Rather than read a typed-out poem as I have done in prior performances, instead I took the “freeform” part to heart and do a part-monologue, part stand-up performance.  Yes, I typed out some notes in my phone, and I rehearsed some of what I wanted to say in my head beforehand.

But when I stepped up to the microphone, however… uh, yeah, it wasn’t pretty.  I stammered and hemmed and hawed quite a bit, forgetting what I had written down and rehearsed.  For some reason, I also didn’t look at the notes on my phone very much.  Needless to say, I didn’t rehearse as much as I should have before last Saturday’s performance, nor did I do a lot of memorizing.  I received a polite, appreciative applause from the audience when I left the stage, but to me that polite applause felt more like a participation medal than a rousing reaction.

That less-than-rousing performance inspired me to write the poem you’re about to read.  You’ll notice it has quite of flying allusions, as well as some self-criticism.  I am my own worst critic at times, and I feel that need to bring myself back down to Earth and avoid being too confident in my less-than-stellar performance abilities.  Well, at least when it comes to performing without a script.  And a script is what I’ll be sticking to in the foreseeable future.  Yes, I do look forward to performing again in the future, perhaps as soon as the end of this month, when another open mic event at Mother Fools is scheduled.  But I’m definitely going to stay grounded with a prepared script… and quite a bit of practice beforehand.

“High Flyer”

So, you want to be a high flyer
Reach heights you’ve never attained
Be in spots where you’ve never been
And do things you’ve rarely done

And you want to do all that right away?
Like, right now?
At this moment?
With the whole world watching?

But… are you sure you know where you’re going?
And how to get there?
I ask because, judging from how everyone’s squirming
You sure don’t know where you’re going

Yeah, you sure didn’t plan out this flight you’re piloting
You’re tilting from one wing to another
And you’re about to crash land
Oh, don’t worry; everyone will survive
But there will be two casualties:
Your confidence
And your pride

Yes, you really want to fly
But you don’t know how to fly
Not yet, anyway
Before you grab that joystick again
(No, not that one)
How about reading the flight manual first?
Log some hours in the flight simulator
Maybe take a training run or two
Draw out that flight plan a little better

I know, all that pre-planning won’t be fun
But if you do all that first
You’ll gain lots of confidence
Your propellers will be ready to turn
Then, you can put aside that training manual
Because you’ll know by heart
What you’ve been wanting… nay, desiring
To tell the world what’s in your heart

And then, the world see how strong you are
Not to mention your big, beautiful heart
And they’ll happily get on board with you
To heights you never imagined

Oh, they didn’t mind flying with you before
But they’ll really love flying with you
If you practice, practice, practice
At being a high flyer


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I am visible

It’s Saturday morning as I write this and I didn’t have any plans initially to add a new blog post today.  The reason is that today is International Transgender Day of Visibility.  For those of you still unaware of this day, TDOV is meant to celebrate trans people of all stripes, their accomplishments and well being; highlight the blockades of discrimination the worldwide trans community has faced and continue to withstand; and recognize those in our community and our allies who have continued the fight against trans discrimination.  If you’re wondering, yes, I have plans to venture out and be visible on this TDOV.  For starters, the trans/CD support group I’m part of has a meeting this afternoon, after which some of us will enjoy dinner at a nearby restaurant.  Then, should time permit, I’m hoping to take part in a freeform open mic event at Mother Fool’s on Williamson Street.

So, yeah, my female side has a busy day ahead of her, and it’ll need to start with a long, hot shower to cleanse off this downer of a month for me professionally.  Still, I needed to share some thoughts on this Trans Day of Visibility on here because… well, it’s Trans Day of Visibility.  First, I want to share with you a blog post written this morning by someone I follow on WordPress who like me identifies as a crossdresser and member of the trans community, Hannah.  Her thoughts (and I hope she doesn’t mind my sharing them here) include the following:

“I fully believe that each time we leave the house and interact with people in the real world we have an opportunity and an obligation to show others that transpeople live in the community and not just in Hollywood. It’s a chance to show others, whether it’s the cashier at the mall, the barista at Starbucks or someone we pass in the store that we really exist, that we are real people and hopefully not as different as some might think we are.”

That paragraph from Hannah (and, again, those were her words, so credit goes to her for expressing them) really struck a chord in me.  For several years, Allison had been safely(?) ensconced in the online environment, venturing out into the real world only a couple of times, and only in a supportive environment, before hiding back home.  But in the past year-plus, I have stepped out of my all-too-crowded closet and have been visible.  Sure, most of that visibility has been in the friendly confines of a support group, but it has also been in public environments. Whatever the place and the circumstances, I have found that… I am visible.

When I step out of the house all dolled up… I am visible.

When I take that drive to and from that very supportive support group… I am visible.

When I’m still dolled up and I make a pit stop at the grocery store to or from the meeting, even if it’s just to pick up that gallon of milk or pint of ice cream I’ve been meaning to buy but hadn’t gotten around to doing so in male mode… I am visible.

When I’m at the McDonald’s drive-thru window after the support meeting to pick up a quick bite to eat, all because I didn’t eat before the meeting… I am visible.

When I’m enjoying a post-meeting dinner with my fellow trans sisters and brothers… we are visible.

When I’m marching en femme with my trans sisters and brothers, or joining other LGBT+ people in a pride parade or celebratory banquet… we are visible.

When I’m celebrating other trans people of any stripe, as well as any supportive cis ally or anyone in the broad LGBT+ community… I am visible.

When I get over my nerves about public speaking and present my poetry in person to a receptive audience… I am visible.

When I’m posting my own pictures, telling my own stories, expressing my own thoughts, or celebrating my own accomplishments (even if it’s just online)… it’s not a sign that I am vain.  On the contrary, it’s just me being visible.

Also, when I’m telling my own stories, and my trans sisters and brothers do the same… we’re standing up to those who wish to shun us into a dark corner so that we’re never seen again.  Nope, we’re staying strong and visible.

When the clerk at the supermarket walks past me and can’t help but say, “I love your outfit,” or that cashier at the McDonald’s window compliments me on my makeup or hair or outfit (and, yes, they have happened to me)… I am blushing over receiving a good word, and I am thankful that I am visible.

When someone online also compliments me on how beautiful they think I am… I’m just as thankful for their kind words as the fact that I am visible.

When someone gives me constructive criticism with their compliments… well, it’s words that I take to heart (though I try not to let those words pierce my heart), as their words are advice I should heed to present myself better in the future.  Whatever their words, though, it’s a moment that makes me glad I am visible.

And when someone who is not ready to come out to their family and friends — regardless of whether they’re gay or or bisexual or cis-gender or trans or gender non-conforming — and gains inspiration from how I present myself… well, first, I sympathize with them because I am not entirely out to the rest of the world (my family and work colleagues do not know about Allison).  But then I tell them that if or when they’re ready to do so, they will have more support then they thought they’d get, for there will be supportive avenues online and in their community.  It makes me thankful that I am visible enough to provide that support, and hopeful that when they are good and ready, they will live as their own, true selves… and become visible.

From myself to the countless fellow LGBT+ people around the world, specifically those in the broad transgender community and fellow crossdressers like myself, thank you for your own inspiring stories and displays of being yourselves.  Just as I may inspire future generations to be themselves, you’ve inspired me to be comfortable with both my male and female sides, and to express both sides to the supportive and accepting corners of Madison, Wisconsin, and the world.  Thank you for being visible, because you’ve inspired me to be visible as well.  Happy Transgender Day of Visibility to you all.


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Gingham trench coat

You may recall that earlier this month of March, I participated in another poetry reading as Allison.  That particular Friday night here in Madison wasn’t too chilly, meaning that the comfy winter coat I had just added to my closet would have been a little too much.  But then, it wasn’t anywhere near balmy, meaning a light jacket would leave me chattering my teeth on the walk from my car to Mother Fool’s.

But earlier that day, out of pure coincidence, I came across this College Fashionista article that gave a nice recommendation for the season:  Layers are a great way to combat the chilly air that always comes with late winter/early spring weather March forces upon us.  The article came with a couple of pictures of outfits featuring long coats.  Problem was, I didn’t have any long coat in my closet.

Luckily, I checked out of work a little early that Friday, giving me a little extra time to head down the road to Target to see if they had any long coats.  Thankfully, they did.

Who What Wear trench coat

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Some thoughts inspired by last Saturday…

I won’t try to get too political here, but I want to share some thoughts inspired by a significant recent event, one I’m sure you may have heard about:  Last Saturday, millions of students and their adult supporters marched across the country, an effort to highlight the need for stronger, stricter regulations concerning firearms — the “March for Our Lives.”  The most publicized march occurred in Washington, D.C., but other “sibling marches” occurred, including here in Madison, where 2,500 participants marched up State Street and convened on the State Capitol grounds.  (I wish I hadn’t been preoccupied last Saturday so that I would have joined in.)

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A random personal thought (3/26/2018 edition)

Forgive me for borrowing a Yiddish term, but… Oy vey!  This has been one bummer of a month of March for me professionally.  I’ve made passing mention of it on here recently, and I’m still not mentally ready to tell you all about it.  Suffice it to say, it’s a mistake that I’m owning up to at least in my mind.  Being responsible for a professional error leaves me wondering about a lot of things, among them how much have my shortcomings (yes, I have more than one) influenced my supervisor and others?  How much can I improve?  And, yes, how much should I brush up my resumé?  At least I have received support and words of confidence from my friends and a couple of colleagues.  Their words are reminding me that I am worth much more to someone than my errors have branded me as.

What’s helping my psyche as well is the fact that there are those at my place of employment who don’t know, or don’t care, about my screw-ups.  One… er, actually, two of those people came calling today.  Both of them were very familiar with my male mode side’s commitment as a do-gooding volunteer (hey, something I’m good at!), and they made me an offer:  There is a big event later this spring that our company has been devoted to for many years, and our company is in need of someone to help coordinate and corral our contingent of volunteers.  (No, I won’t tell you who our company is or what event we’ll be sending volunteers to; my male mode side needs personal privacy, you know.)

Now, my usual volunteering efforts in the past have been limited to doing one simple task on one day at one event and then be done with it.  Not with this particular duty, however.  For one, it’ll take the span of a few weeks this spring to care for, meaning I won’t be sitting on my duff for a whole afternoon.  Plus, instead of doing just one thing, I’ll be gathering information on who from our company wants to volunteer and sent it to the event’s coordinators.

The above description may be all just a thumbnail’s sketch to some of you, but for me this will be a big deal… not just because of the responsibilities but because someone came to me to ask for volunteer help, not my asking them.  After weeks of being unsure of my own lot at my place of employment, and being nervous or downright scared about my professional future, there’s real impact in hearing these words from someone at work, even if it involves work I don’t normally do:

We need you.

I’m actually and sincerely looking forward to the coming weeks as a volunteer.  Please wish me luck in my efforts to keep impressing others in a positive way.


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Allison empties her bookmarks (Dove edition)

Time to do something I haven’t done in a while:  Clear out a few items that have long sit idle as bookmarks in my browser.  Both are related to an advertising campaign that’s made an impact in both the ad world and popular culture over the past decade-plus:  Dove beauty products’ Campaign for Real Beauty.  Perhaps you’ve seen some of the campaign’s advertising in the past, all aimed at countering the prevailing image of women and young girls concocted by the beauty and fashion industries — i.e. images of waif-thin models of a certain age and/or ethnicity, all sporting all-too-perfect hair, makeup, and skin tone — and instead celebrate various types of female appearances and encourage and inspire women to be confident in and comfortable with themselves.

As I recall it, the first I time I heard of the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty was a 75-second online ad produced in Canada and first released in October 2006.  Titled “Evolution,” the ad featured a pretty yet ordinary girl going through a time-lapse transformation into a beautiful model — with some obvious embellishments.

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Good luck

chicago-river-retouch

A green-dyed Chicago River (with everything else black and white apparently for good photographic effect) (Image source here)

Today is March 17, better known far and wide as Saint Patrick’s Day.  Traditionally, this date is the supposed death anniversary of Saint Patrick, who is widely considered both the patron saint of Ireland and the man who brought Christianity to the lush green isle several millennia ago.  This is as opposed to Saint Eligius, who is considered the patron saint of longshoremen and bowling aficionados. (Uh, wait a minute, that may not be right…)  The good citizens of Ireland treat this day with general solemnity and recognition of Irish pride; indeed, this is an official public holiday in Ireland.

Those who are part of the worldwide Irish diaspora have been credited with popularizing Saint Patrick’s Day on a global basis.  Thanks to the specter of commercialization this day has gained a life of its own here in America, especially since the mid 20th century.  Anything with a green and/or Irish theme seemingly pops up everywhere at this time of year:  Greeting card aisles are stocked with “Happy St. Patrick’s Day” cards.  Parades are held.  Traditional Irish music is played.  Bodies of water are dyed green.  Sports teams who don’t have green in their color scheme add it to their uniforms.  Party shops are loaded with green- or shamrock-themed party wares.  Speaking of parties, semi-responsible adults use this day as an excuse to drink beer and act uncouth (ugh).  And people of all ages put on real green clothing, fake Irish accents, and even faker Irish names (i.e. adding a “Mc” to the beginning of their surnames).

And it’s all done to foster, for better and (much) worse, Irish stereotypes, usually to a humorous or joyous intent if not always having a humorous or joyous effect.  True story:  When I lived in the Green Bay area, a morning radio team (classic rock station, of course) had an annual tradition of “staging” (note the quote marks) a “St. Patrick’s Day Parade” down the main boulevard of one of the cities in the area, complete with “marching bagpipe bands” (again, note the quote marks) with names that stereotype the various non-Irish European cultures that populate much of Wisconsin.  Definitely stereotypical, in more ways than the listener would expect on that day.  But at least their pointed non-stereotype jokes throughout the routine hit the mark.

Admittedly, as a naive kid of single-digit ages, I got roped into the Saint Patrick’s Day rigmarole.  For example, I would ask everyone I encountered, fellow kid or otherwise, “Hey, why aren’t you wearing green today?  You won’t get good luck now.”  Sometimes I would get away with asking that despite not wearing a hint of green on my own person, not even a green button.

But as I grew older and more wiser, I started seeing Saint Patrick’s Day for what it is:  Just another day that just happens to be marked in a special way on the calendar.  (No offense, of course, to the fair people of Ireland who treat this day with utmost respect.)  There are only a couple of minor items in my closet (both male and female sides) that have some sort of green, but I don’t drag them out and put them on just for the sake of this day.  I don’t put on a fake Irish accent or add a “Mc” to my name.  I don’t even buy a Shamrock Shake from McDonald’s.  And I most definitely do not drink copious amounts of green beer and party until the morning light (I’m a teetotaler, of course).

But if there is one Irish stereotype I admit to imbibing on today, it’s the thought of luck.  When reading up on Saint Patrick’s Day, I saw only one reference to luck, that being the tossing of a shamrock over the shoulder after taking a drink, for good luck.  I had always dismissed shamrocks and superstitions involving them as being equivalent to imagery of leprechauns — nothing more than representations of negative Irish stereotypes and symbols of a feeling of fortune not everyone can obtain.

But a couple of years ago on Saint Patrick’s Day, my Firefox browser displayed this:

Firefox shamrock 3-17-2016

And when I saw that image appear in my browser, it hit me like a ton of lead.  What was once (and still is?) regarded as Saint Patrick’s way of metaphorically describing the Christian Holy Trinity has become the quick go-to symbol of good luck, in lieu of the very rare four-leaf clover.  But more than the imagery, it’s the words that accompany it, or at least what accompanied this particular shamrock:  Good health.  Good luck.  Happiness.  On the 17th of March and every day.  At the end of a week when, at least professionally, I haven’t had a lot of good luck (and I feel downright scared about my work status), actually gaining good luck and happiness can feel very elusive elusive.  But it’s something I can hope for, if not make it possible.  And if I can’t entirely make it possible, at least being wished a lifetime of good luck and happiness, and wishing the same on others, can bring nothing but warmth to a heart that needs it.

So, on this Saint Patrick’s Day, here’s hoping that, as Firefox so aptly communicated, you have three wishes coming your way — wishes of good health, good luck, and warm happiness, not just today but every single day.  Enjoy your day.