Allison M.

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


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One year into “winter”

An anecdote to lead off:  Back in October, I joined fellow members of a trans support group at the OutReach Awards Banquet.  One of our cis-gender allies joined us, and at first, she wasn’t sure exactly which table was which, but she checked her table number on her name tag and, by coincidence, sat right next to me.  Ours was Table 44.  “Good,” she chuckled, “because I like ’44’ better than ’45.'”

Note the quote marks around “44” and “45” in that last sentence, for our friend wasn’t joking about the tables on that night.  No, hers was a remark about the era in which we’re stuck in right now.  One year ago this weekend, You Know Who formally and officially became the 45th You Know What.  In the 52 weeks since then, it’s felt as if we’ve collectively turned around an endless line of dark corners, each bend darker than the one before it.  There are far too many of those dark corners to be specific about here, though I should note the latest… er, one of the latest of dark corners from this week concerned an “overhaul” of the Department of Health & Human Services’ Civil Rights Office.  The proposal would add a division that protects those in the medical profession who desire to “profess their religious expressions,” up to and including their objections to providing services or caring for people they have religious objections to, including abortions or treatment to trans patients.

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A poem: “Show Me”

The other day, I heard a great quote uttered during a Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration here in Wisconsin.  Unfortunately, I don’t recall the speaker or the full quote.  However, I do recall it being a “show me this and I’ll show you that” kind of quote, one where two people see the same thing but see it very different… like, say, one person seeing the glass as half-empty and the other seeing it as half-full.

The “show me… and I’ll show you…” portion of that quote stuck with me the rest of the holiday, and it inspired me to write… and rewrite… and rewrite (as I usually do) the following poem.  As you’ll read (and especially notice in the last stanza), I’m not afraid to call out someone who is dismissive of those who do not live the same “pure” life they profess to live.  What’s for sure, the holier-than-thou set aren’t saints themselves, no matter how much they proselytize with their “holy book” of choice.

“Show Me”

Show me fields that have long been fallow
Overgrown with unsightly weeds
I’ll show you land that can spring to life
With someone’s ideas and dreams

Show me an artist’s canvas or a poet’s notebook
That are still blank and untouched
I’ll show you space that can be
The ground spring of a masterpiece

Show me someone immature and unruly
And I’ll show you a bright mind
That, if molded the right way
Will grow the fruits of their full potential

Show me someone not following the rules
And I’ll show you someone living free
Show me someone who doesn’t respect others
And I’ll show you someone who lets others be

Show me who should stay in a gilded cage
That with iron and lock and key you construct
And I’ll show you someone yearning to soar
To heights that will leave you awestruck

Show me someone who you prefer to stay quiet
And I’ll show you a person ready to roar
I’ll also show you someone ready to rebuild
If you only see someone you have no hope for

Show me someone who’s immoral
And I’ll show you someone on the straight and narrow
Show me someone that should conform
And I’ll show you someone who’s blazing their own trail

Show me someone whose existence you deny
And I’ll show you someone who needs to thrive
Even though caring for them is what you’re sworn to do
Would your “conscience” be quick to shun them…
And not care for them…
And seal their doom…
Just because they’re not like you?

Show me someone who’s only a gender
Or a skin color
Or a religion
Or an age
Or a behavior
Or “less” than you
And I’ll show you someone more than a label
For they’re much more than your closed mind
Forbids your open eyes to see

You think you see the scourges of the earth
But I see someone who can clear those fields
And plow those lands
And construct those buildings
And write those sonnets
And paint those masterpieces
And mold those minds
And help build a future
That will benefit all of us

Show me all that you claim is ugly
And I’ll do you one better…
I can show you true hideousness
Just by having you look in a mirror


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Random stuff about the Golden Globes red carpet

As I’ve admitted once or twice on here before, I don’t get into watching awards shows on television very much.  So, if you were with me in my apartment this past Sunday (January 7), not only would you have been sweltering with me in an apartment that has the heat stuck in a way-too-high position (a subject for another post, I promise), you’d also would’ve been switching back and forth between football and college basketball and hockey and even cricket.  In other words, we wouldn’t have been watching any of the 75th Golden Globe Awards ceremony or preceding red carpet.

And judging from the social media talk during the ceremony, as well as the post-ceremony analysis… oh, what a night we would’ve missed.  For one, there were the award winners, of course.  Then there was Seth Meyers’ opening monologue and his getting help with other jokes he couldn’t tell.  And definitely bigger than all of that, there was the appearance of a certain TV anchor turned talk show host turned actress turned media mogul — yeah, I’m talking about Oprah — who, when accepting a career achievement award, brought down the house with a speech about justice for women that many equaled to a speech from a campaign in two years’ time for a certain public office (the one currently occupied by You Know Who).  No doubt, her speech was a rousing and optimistic one that will certainly inspire more than a few women, of all ages and identifications, to stand up and stand strong.

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A poem: “Makeup”

Show of hands:  How many of you are familiar with haikus?  Okay, quite a lot of you.  For the very few uninitiated of you, a haiku is a short form of poetry that originated in Japan and usually has 3 lines of 17 syllables —5 syllables in the first and third lines, 7 in the middle line.

When written well, the simplicity of a haiku can potently communicate subject, setting, and feeling.  Fitting all that into the 5-7-5 rule can be a challenge to a relative poetry novice such as myself.  But the nature of haikus inspired me to write what you’re about to read.  What also inspired me was a support group meeting I attended Saturday, during which was presented makeup tips for those presenting as male-to-female.  It was a pretty nice presentation, and I gained (and wrote down) tips that will help accentuate my feminine presentation, including tips on contouring your cheekbones and how not apply foundation as if you’re painting a wall.  (Memo to self:  It’s makeup, not spackle.)

The thoughts about those tips led me to write a few lines of prose… and for some reason, it also tempted me to write in haiku form.  But this won’t be a haiku per se.  For one, there are considerably more than three lines, although each stanza has three lines.  And two, not all of the stanzas fit the 5-7-5 rule.  Still, I consider this a nice way to keep my writing and poetry juices flowing.  Enjoy.

“Makeup”

Moisturized skin glows
Ready to become a canvas
With makeup for paint

Primer and powder
Hides evident imperfections
Of this imperfect skin

Concealed under eyes
Are the weight of stress from life
I want to shed tonight

Full, luscious, lovely lips
Sit pouting, waiting to be kissed
By the right person

Contours along cheeks
And nose and foreheads and chin
Helps present a different gender

Makeup on my face
Converts me from the man I usually am
Into a pretty woman

My makeup hides lines
That show the toll of work and life and strife
As well as gender

Makeup helps to ease
My male mode tribulations for a while
And lets Allison come out to play

Makeup can be my shield
That helps stave off disapproving stares
From an evil world

Yes, I know it can’t stop
Their words of anger and vitriol
Or their name-calling

And I know it can’t cure all
Of my everyday fears and worries
It’s just a temporary salve

But just for a while
A day, or a night, or whenever
Makeup boosts my confidence

It helps present me
As the well-polished woman… and kind person
I’d love the world to see

And if someone I see
Says to me, “You’re quite beautiful”
Oh, how happy I would be


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A confession, and a resolution

In this, my first blog post of 2018, I want to start off with a confession:  I didn’t get too much into the holiday spirit in December.  Oh, sure, I put up my decorations and sent cards and made a bevy of gift purchases (including some for myself *wink wink*).  However, I didn’t gaze upon my apartment’s decorations too much.  I didn’t pay any attention to any holiday specials on TV (and, no, parodying a Hallmark movie doesn’t count).  And I most certainly didn’t turn my radio to any station playing an all-Christmas format.

Why the “bah, humbug” admission?  Perhaps I had too much on my mind during December.  One thing was, of course, my stepfather’s health situation (he’s doing okay, for the record).  Another was keeping expenses down, which is hard to do, of course, when you’re gift shopping for others and *blush* myself.

But there’s also a possibility that I may be moving.  Uh, uh, I’m planning to stay here in Madison.  It’s just that I’m exploring buying a condominium.  I’ve always rented apartments in one way or another, but I’m worried the apartment I’m living in now will see its monthly rent rise quite a bit when the new lease starts on May 1.  And with rent the way it is here in Madison, there aren’t very many cheaper options for someone looking to rent a 2-bedroom apartment that’s as decent as where I’m living at right now.  So, I’m wading into the condo pool a little bit, albeit with not too much success.  But at least I’m making an effort to look for a new place to live.

Which brings me to the resolution portion of this post.  I’ve never been one at making any big resolutions or to-do lists when an old year becomes a new one, although I tried to do so in one of my earliest posts on this blog.  But what I’ll try to do here in 2018 is what I hinted in my previous post:  Take a leap of faith.  More often than not, cold feet prevent me from taking big leaps in my life.  But taking big leaps have worked for me before:  When I moved to Madison.  When I first ventured out solo en femme.  When I joined a support group.  And especially when I began performing poetry in public last year.  And each and every time, any nerves I had at the outset would diminish.

Looking to buy my very own place is just like all of those things, if not bigger (because condos do not grow on trees).  So it’s good to put at least one toe into something, then the whole foot, then both feet, and the whole body if the water is fine, so to speak.  Who knows what will happen as a result?  I’ll either enjoy the swim or have to swim back to shore and dry off.  But at least I’ll take satisfaction in knowing I got all wet.


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2017 was the year…

This is the final weekend of 2017.  And, yikes, what a year.  When I say that, I obviously don’t mean that 2017 was full of happiness and good cheer.  To the contrary, 2017 was crappy.  To confirm that, one needn’t look to far from the current occupant of a certain house in Washington.  Yes, the man with thin orange skin, the biggest ego in the universe, truly poor character, and a reputation of wanting to destroy (or at least unjustly distort the reputation of) anyone who doesn’t get in line with him and see the world the way he sees it.  And the way he sees it, he’s the only savior from this world of evil and prejudice, despite overwhelming evidence that he’s the leading propellant of evil and prejudice.

Yeah, You Know Who (my shorthand for the above mentioned man with thin orange skin) and his minions have led us into very dark times here in 2017.  But for every dark story this old year has wrought, there has been at least one positive story to counter it.  And with it being the end of the year, it’s high time for me to think of some positives.

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My Christmas 2017

It’s after 5:30PM in Madison as I write this, and my Christmas Day 2017 was… rather lonely.  For the second year in a row, my family had our annual Christmas get together and gift exchange on a day other than Christmas Day.  Last year, it was on New Year’s Eve.  This year, it was last Saturday, the 23rd.  So, my Christmas Day was spent working on the computer and sending an important (for me) e-mail; exercising in the gym at work at midday; cleaning house in the afternoon; and writing this post in the evening.  Yeah, I tend to live the exciting life, don’t I? (Note the sarcasm there.)

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Allison on video performing (part of) “Store-bought”

It’s Christmas Eve as I write this, and I hadn’t been planning to write anything on here, just wanting to give my keyboard and my writing skills a breather.  But then I remembered I had performed at Mother Fool’s earlier this month.  And I had previously mentioned in passing that someone recorded part of my performance.  When my name was called to perform, I kindly asked someone at the table next to me to snap some pictures of yours truly performing.  She kindly obliged.  But not only did she take a couple of still shots… by chance or whatever, she hit the “video record” button of my camera while I was performing the first of the three poems I read that Friday night, “Store-bought.”

Three things that I must make note of here:  The kind person who caught this didn’t capture my entire performance, just a little bit of the first two stanzas of “Store-bought” (itchy fingers, I presume.  Also, the video is not the greatest in audio or visual quality (it was shot from a distance after all).  And while I am comfortable with writing poetry, my actual performing skills are still not up to snuff.  Hopefully, with more practice and more performing, I’ll improve the second part of that equation.  So, enjoy this rather impromptu gift from me to you, and Happy Christmas or whatever you may be celebrating!


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Random stuff: SNL’s Hallmark Christmas parody

Two days ago, I took a stab at writing, or at least sketching out, my own Hallmark Channel Christmas movie.  Yes, they’re the kind of movies that feature the same things and themes every time out:  Cute girl (played by a “Hey, I know her from somewhere” actress) falls head over heels for handsome man (played by a “Hey, I know him from somewhere” actor).  They find that magical Christmas spirit together.  And they’re films that are all shot on the same Canadian studio lot that doubles for Anytown, U.S.A. and feature ample amounts of saccharin-sweet goodness.

As you may have judged from my own attempt, Hallmark Channel’s long, long list of identical/interchangeable Christmas movies are ripe for the parody… preferably not by this amateur but by skilled people who can do effective satirical parodies on a routine basis.  Well, lo and behold, the people at Saturday Night Live took that ball and ran with it on Thursday.  Or, to be more precise, a couple of weeks ago.

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#TBT follow-up: Some leftover social media thoughts

Back in August, I opined about how and why I established accounts on Twitter several years ago and Facebook this year.  Since then, there’s been a few things I wanted to opine about those services.  First, some broad thoughts about the 140-character universe that is Twitter.  Well, I should correct that to 280 characters.  Back in September, the geeks at Twitter “launched a test” so that some users could “express themselves easily” in a tweet whose character limit was double what it had been before.  It turned out to be successful enough, according to the geeks, that Twitter expanded everyone’s limit from 140 to 280 in November.  The belief is that the longer the tweet limit, the more engaged users will be on Twitter.

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