Time for another edition of “Allison’s Word.” This time around, the disembodied voice and I present a topic that I’ve held in my mind for quite a while, yet I never devoted time to writing about it until now.
“What, are we la–“
Don’t you dare say “lazy!” I have been pretty busy creating posts. It’s just that I concentrated a lot on those other subjects and never formulated a post for this topic until now. And this topic is…
Yep, junk. As in all that stuff I have in my closet, both meaningful and meaningless. If you’ve followed my Twitter feed or even this blog, you know how much of a chore cleaning out my closet can be. And, yes, it’s the closet behind me in particular the very same closet where all my girly stuff can be found.
“You got a lot of junk inside those trunks.”
Yeah, I most certainly do. Still do, in fact. I recounted in this post from August that I spent most of my week-long vacation away from work just cleaning out the closet. I’ve always had a lot of junk inside and outside of those trunks: Old books, office stuff, hats, things I’ve been meaning to give to Goodwill… and, oh yeah, my feminine attire. So, I did some heavy duty cleaning of that closet.
“Got any less junk inside those trunks?”
If you’re asking if I permanently removed anything from my closet, I most certainly did. Some of the old books and a hat or two were given to Goodwill, along with a couple of male-mode jeans that became very, very tight. There were also some old magazines that I held on to for some oddball reason, and into the recycling bin they went.
If you’re wondering, some of my female attire went away as well. I’m sad about that fact, as I hate to part with any of Allison’s wardrobe. But there are times when a faux girl has to buck up and face the fact that, well, not every blouse or skirt looks good on me anymore. Case in point: A short, red polyvinyl skirt I bought at Deb when I was much, much younger and haven’t worn in Heaven knows how long but held on to it for sentimental reasons more than anything else. (Ah, my younger days.) While cleaning the girly stuff out, I tried that red skirt on one last time and… yeah, it didn’t feel comfortable at the least. What’s more, there had to have been something else down there that was black and vinyl-ish, for it rubbed against the red skirt and left some nasty black streaks. That’s a hard lesson I learned the hard way and now must heed: Anything close to being a vinyl fabric must be protected with the utmost care. Don’t let it rub next to something else dark while in storage or else the fabric quality will decrease.
“So, you finally done clearing all that junk from inside your trunks?”
Well, even though I do have less junk inside my tr– er, closet after that August cleaning, it’s still a crowded closet. And strange as this may sound, I’m fine with that. Strange as this may sound, I’m also fine with it not being the first (or last) time I’ll have to clean out that messy area.
But that August cleaning was indeed the biggest cleaning job I did in there, especially considering my effort to sort my clothing by type. Before, I would just throw everything into a few bins, as demonstrated by the below tweet from about a year ago.
This time, however, I got smart. I bought some smaller, more convenient bins and sorted each item by type and/or fabric. Each item went into a certain pile, and each pile went into their very own bin. So, while it may not be entirely perfect, and I still have that nasty habit of throwing stuff to the corner of the closet with the intention of caring for them later, at least I feel much more organized and not as willy-nilly as it was before.
“You got all your junk in better trunks?”
Yep. The lesson that the above dearly departed red skirt taught me is that I must take good care of my clothing. If I’m going to hang on to every little bit of my wardrobe and wear them again and again (or at least sentimentally hang on to a few), then I must treat them as if they’re delicate flowers. Case in point: The batch of lycra/polyester clothing that I have, in particular shiny leggings. Time was I would hang them up in the closet, but that used up a bit of space, and that shiny material would actually stick to each other. Yeah, you don’t want colored fabric like shiny polyester sticking to each other. The colors will bleed into each other as a result, decreasing the quality of the clothing.
So, last year I had the bright idea of moving the shiny leggings from the hangers to a bin, separating them with something protective in order to prevent sticking.
And it worked… for a while. Turns out that not only did some of the paper toweling stick to the leggings, the color from the leggings bled onto the paper toweling (that just didn’t seem right to me). No, the lycra fabric itself didn’t appear to be harmed, but it still weirded me out a bit. So, during my closet cleaning in August, I eighty-sixed the paper towels and just went ahead and turned the leggings inside out. Now, the chance of fabric sticking to each other and harming the color is reduced.
“But it still sticks to itself, right?”
Yeah, even if turned inside out, a poly/lycra clothing item still tends to stick to itself at times, especially in humid conditions. Well, at least it’s been my experience with that fabric anyway. So, be careful with the fabric, and make sure to take good care of it. Turn it inside out like I do, or store it in a cool, dry spot. Lycra’s a sexy looking fabric; if you love it, don’t harm it.
But enough about closets and delicate fabrics (although I do make a storage-related request of you at the very end of this post). There’s another definition of “junk” that shouldn’t go unsaid.
“Aw, we’re not done yet?”
No, we’re not. It’s about the *ahem* slang definition of the word. Let’s go back to the above photo.
Notice the placement of my sign?
“You mean… *gasp* down there?!“
Yes, down there. If you’ve ever browsed through my Flickr album, you’ve noticed I can look different in many ways: Different hair styles, different clothing, (somewhat) different settings, different exposures and lighting. But if there’s one thing all of my photos have in common, it’s this: I do not show any nudity, specifically my, uh, private parts.
“You’re not gonna let your junk outside that trunk?”
No. And let me add italics and an exclamation to stress that fact: No! And here’s my reasoning: In Garrison Keillor’s stories about Lake Wobegon, he always described it as a place where, among other things, “All the women are strong.” And while the men in my mother’s family are nowhere near good looking (except for me) and the children aren’t always above average, the women are certainly strong. (How apropos that they come from the state next door to Lake Wobegon’s.) And that’s not an overstatement: My grandmother, friendly and loving as she was to her grandchildren, was a strong matriarch to her children. It’s that sense of strong will that Grandma passed down to my own mother, who in turn passed it down to my sisters. It’s the strength Grandma exhibited and Mom still exhibits that reinforced lessons of respect toward others, especially women of all kinds from all walks of life.
Somewhere along the line, that mindset of respect towards women extended in my mind to cover respect for how a woman presents herself to the rest of the world. A woman may be friendly or serious, business executive or low-level worker, dressed to the nines or looking frumpy; whatever the case, they should be respected. It also extends, to various degrees of effect, to how I present Allison to you, the rest of the world. That includes how I describe myself, how I tell my stories… and, yes, how I appear in front of the camera. It’s why although you may see me wear something like red lingerie or sleek leather that can be considered sexy and alluring, you will never see me displaying my private areas in full view.
“So you’ll never let all your junk outside your trunk?”
You understand me perfectly, Disembodied Voice (though I gather you listen to way too many Black Eyed Peas songs): When it comes to flaunting my, *ahem* nether regions to the world, never means never. Additionally, I have to hold my nose when it comes to seeing the nether regions some of my fellow crossdressers. Yes, they are beautiful in their own right, even downright attractive. But it’s a turn-off to me when they pose for the camera while flaunting stuff that’s supposed to remain inside the skirt, if you know what I mean. And all you gentlemen callers aren’t going to elude this viewpoint: There have been more than a few times I’ve blocked a male Flickr user whose profile pic or gallery consists of nothing but his *ahem* basement.
“They don’t impress you much?”
Good heavens, no. While you’ve been paraphrasing Black Eyed Peas (and a little bit of Shania Twain) all this while, I’ll use a lyric from another song to express my stand so very succinctly: I get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine. I’m in awe of feminine beauty, both in fashion and character. And while I can’t stop the world from showing their full monty, if you know what I mean, I can do my best to not associate myself with that ugly aspect. I’m a part-time woman, not one’s idea of a full-time sex object. You’re not a chauvinistic presidential candidate, so please treat me with respect the way I treat all women of the world. For I consider myself a positive presentation of femininity and not a load of…
Okay, before I close, I want to circle back around to the clothing-in-the-closet portion of this post and throw the floor open to you: I do not profess to being an expert of all things wardrobe storage. I’m always open to new ideas and suggestions when it comes to stowing clothes away when there’s not a lot of room in the closet to stow them away in. So if you are eager and willing to offer any storage ideas, feel free to add them in the comments below. Thank you in advance for your sincere advice.