Allison M.

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


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Allison’s Word: “Compassion”

Time to bring back a feature I haven’t done on here in a while, “Allison’s Word.”  Sorry, no disembodied voice in this entry (last I checked, they’re getting their nails done), but there will be a word representing a beautiful trait of human emotion I’ve encountered so far during my job search:

Compassion

Compassion is a human trait that allows people who are moved by someone’s physical, mental, or emotional pain to want to alleviate or ease that person’s pain.  Compassion is that feeling that prompts a person to reach out to someone in their time of need as if to say, “Don’t worry, things will be all right for a little while.”

This week, during my job search, I took time between sending lots of resumés and practicing for phone interviews to have lunch with someone who showed a lot of compassion my way — the first supervisor at my now-former place of employment.  She’s still employed at that company, and that allowed the two of us to keep in touch rather easily during my time there (she was just one floor below me in our building).  Since I departed the company, she has shown quite a bit of compassion in her e-mail conversations with me.  And on Thursday, for the first time since I left, she offered to meet up with me for lunch.  I thought, why not?  I’ve got all the time in the world for lunch at the moment.  We had a pretty nice conversation at that lunch, and she offered nothing but lots of encouragement, including a few statements of “be confident” and more than a few mentions of “there’s a job out there that will be perfect for you.”   And, yes, the lunch was her treat.

My old boss’ lunch wasn’t the only form of compassion from someone at work.  Another person who’s still at that company and was also my supervisor (albeit for a brief time) learned of my departure from my supervisor.  And, yes, she’s reached out to me via e-mail with nothing but support and compassion and advice.  (It goes without saying that both are among my list of personal references during my job search.)  One of my first supervisor’s current colleagues also learned about my job search, and she asked for a copy of my resumé.  I’m not sure who or where she planned to send my resumé to, nor have I noticed any results from it.  But I’m appreciative of her efforts.

Compassion allows one to identify themselves in others and motivates them to do something for the sake of making that other person feel okay for at least a little while.  That thing can be a word or two of support, a lunch with a good friend, a forwarding of a resumé… or perhaps even that next new job opportunity.  No doubt about it, I am very, very appreciative of all this compassion.

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Random personal thoughts (7/8/2018 edition)

Okay, folks, since my post from earlier today regarding my job search might have left some of you as bummed out as I am, something slightly more jovial is in order.  I did already mention a couple of these in that last post and just touched on them in passing on social media, but I’ll expound on them somewhat here.

  1. Staying home isn’t all that it’s cut out to be.  Or to be more precise, staying home when you weren’t planning on doing so.  I have done the whole one-week “staycation” thing before, but that was with the intent of returning to work the following week.  Even with that, sitting in an apartment watching tennis or cycling or your DVR can leave a soul a bit stir crazy.  Actually getting out of the house to do anything does help that fear of being in stir.  Speaking of walks…
  2. A nice summer afternoon’s walk doesn’t always clear one’s mind as much as it should.  Yes, you’re out of the house, but your mind is still pondering other personal things, like “what do I need from the store?” or “did I send out that payment?” or, yes, “where should I apply to next?”  Perhaps I should find nicer destinations to take my walk; maybe that could help ease my mind.
  3. I feel much better when I’m preoccupied with something important and meaningful to do.  Like working at the office, of course.  But as I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been working on a meaningful project for a LGBT resource center here in town, and during the afternoons I worked on said project this past week, it did take my mind off of those job search worries for just a while.  I’ll be working more on it this week, and that should help ease my mind a little more.  If you find yourself in the house with nothing to do, do indeed find yourself a project, even if it’s just cleaning house.  (Oh, memo to self:  My apartment needs cleaning.)
  4. The car deserves a rest, even if you weren’t intending to let it rest.  In the 12 days since the day after my employer let me go, I’ve had to use my car just twice for transportation, and both were for reasons that had to do with my feminine side:  Last weekend to and from a poetry performance, and yesterday to and from a support group meeting.  Any other trips outside the house (for errands or just a walk) were done on my own two feet.  And believe it or not, my mind got used to not having to drive, so much so that it felt somewhat weird when I did my driving yesterday (“okay, which one is the brake pedal?”).  And speaking of things I didn’t have to do…
  5. Having a big, bushy beard does not look good on my male-mode face.  Normally when I didn’t need to go to work, or go to support groups or poetry readings as Allison, I would usually give my electric razor a rest and let the stubble grow for a day or two.  This past week, I let it grow so that by Friday, my brow and chin and jawline looked like a combination of pepper and salt (mostly the former).  And it didn’t do a thing for Male Mode Me.  I think my face may not have as many beard follicles as the average male, especially just under the lower lip where I’ve had a cut scar since I was a kid (darn blade razors).  Shaving before getting dolled up yesterday actually felt good.  And with an interview scheduled for tomorrow afternoon, I am looking forward to getting rid of that stubble once again.  Yay for clean-shaven faces.  And legs.  And underarms.  (That’s for my female side of course.)


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Frustrating, demoralizing, and downright depressing

So, how many of you out there read my previous post and wanted to reach right through your computer screen and wanted to give me a hug, or at least a pat on the shoulder, of sympathy and support?  If you did not read that previous post, I did indeed lose my job and have been seeking new employment.  No, it’s not fun.  Matter of fact, it can get frustrating, demoralizing, and downright depressing.  I say all of this because I’ve experienced all of those emotions in the 12 days since my previous employer eliminated my position:

Frustrating:   There are times when sending a resume or application can be a snap… and there are times when the submission process on a prospective employer’s website can be so confusing, you don’t realize your application was incomplete until three days later, when the company sends an automated e-mail letting you know of your error. (At least this particular company invites applicants to take feedback surveys on the application process.  Yes, I gave them a piece of my mind.)

Then there are the time-wasters, the open positions that come in from the deepest distances of left field that you know you’re not qualified for, are not good material for, or it just seems downright suspicious.  Somewhere on the internet, there has to be some sort of algorithm that picks up whenever a new resume or profile edit is made to, say, Monster.com and sends the person who made those changes an invitation to consider a position in the “amazing,” “tremendous,” “fantastical” world of insurance sales.  Yes, that’s happened to me more than once over the years.  And it likely doesn’t matter what my resume says:  I could post a CV of nothing but janitorial services, and someone will e-mail me saying I have the skills to be a glad-handing salesperson.  Nah.

Demoralizing:  Many, many moons ago, when I was younger and learning the ways of the job-seeking world, one of the things I was taught was to first send a prospective employer your resume, then follow up a couple of days later via phone to ask if they received my resume and if they were interested in interviewing me (that is, if the ad didn’t strictly say “no phone calls please”).  These days, it’s more of “don’t call us, we’ll call you”:  You send a company your application; you include your resume, cover letter, and references if asked; and you wait.  And wait.  And wonder if either they didn’t receive it (hard to do with the internet these days), or they did receive it but aren’t interested in you, or they did but they’re not ready to interview you yet (hard to determine if they don’t post a deadline for applications).

Obviously, I have been sending resumes to as many companies in the Madison area as I can, including a couple of companies with stellar reputations and who are the type of employer I’d be comfortable working for. (No, I won’t say who these companies are.)  At least one of those companies have indicated application deadlines in their postings, giving me at least a possible idea of when they may be ready to interview me if they want to do so.  The other company, unfortunately, has not, nor have they replied back to me with their interest.  It’s that uncertainty, or at least that not knowing if they really like you, that can get me down.  But, of course, a prescription for all that uncertainty is to not consider just one prospective employer, no matter how stellar that company’s reputation may be.

Downright depressing:  Since having to hit the bricks, I’ve spent some of my midday and early afternoon periods getting out of the house and taking a long walk.  Usually, in addition to the health benefits, a long walk also helps clear one’s mind.  If that’s the case, my mind must be in a pea soup-type of fog that not having steady employment created.

A network of support of any kind does help ease that depressing feeling.  I’ve been in near-daily contact with a friend who’s gone through their own job search (a lengthy one) and has been a giver of both recommendations and words of support.  And on Saturday, I received a couple of good words in a support group meeting.  Still, support can only go so far in easing your heart.  At one point of that very same meeting, the participants were informally asked what they looked forward to doing this summer.  My honest answer was looking forward to finding a job.  I didn’t have to answer if I didn’t want to, and looking back on it I shouldn’t have, for my answer left me down in the dumps for the remainder of the meeting and the rest of the night.

But there has been one thing I’ve been doing this week and next that has actually eased my mind a little bit:  I won’t get too much into specifics, but through my connection with a trans/CD support group, I’m helping compose an important resource document that a LGBT+ resource center here in Madison will make available to the trans community.  It’s great in that it lets the volunteering side of me give back to our community, it allows me to give my typing and creative skills a workout… and it lets the worries of a job search drift from the front to the back of my mind for a few hours in the afternoon.

And, hopefully, those afternoons and mornings will soon be spent actually working for a living.  This week, I do have a couple of in-person interviews with staffing agencies.  I’ve always been hesitant to work under the auspices of a temporary worker agency (emphasis on the “temporary” in the job nature).  But, I fear that once my severance runs out, I’ll need something to fall back on no matter how temporary it may be.

So, despite the moments in this job search that have left me… well, down in the dumps, I am trying my darndest to keep optimistic.  Madison has a great economy and, hopefully, many great opportunities where someone like me can use my people-pleasing talents.  Keep wishing me luck, and keep offering advice if you have any.


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New worst day ever

In my mental calendar, there has been a date that was marked in big, pink highlighter marker.  It was marked that way as a reminder to myself of a day when my personal world was shaken up to the core and I had to start anew.  That day was Wednesday, May 15, 2002.  That was the day that I was pulled away from my desk, led into an office, and was told by a Human Resources person that my faithful service was no longer desired by them.

Well, I now have to wash the highlight from that date on my mental calendar, for there is now a new, much more recent date that will need to be marked in that ugly, haunting shade of pink:  Tuesday, June 26, 2018. Continue reading


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Allison enjoys “Queer Shorts: Unity”

So, peoples, what did you do Friday evening?  I went to the theater.

Yeah, Male Mode Me took in a show Friday night.  And, yeah, I was tempted to get all dolled up as Allison, but a tight time frame after the end of my work day prevented that.  Still, I wanted to take in a show and support queer-oriented theater.

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Image credit here

Friday was the second-to-last staging of “Queer Shorts: Unity.”  Every year since 2006, Stage Q, the Madison-based LGBT-oriented theater company, has presented a showcase of short plays, usually 5 to 10 minutes in length and culled from a nationwide call for submissions, that showcase LGBT themes, characters, performers, and writers. Continue reading


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Random stuff: Pride Night at the Brewers game

Yay!  It’s the day of the summer solstice here in Wisconsin, a day to appreciate the abundant amounts of sunshine that make summer, well, summer.  If you see any sunshine where you are, would you mind sending some our way?  That’s because the weather forecast here in Wisconsin calls for rain all day.  And we’ve had more than enough rain the past week or so.

At least the home of my beloved Milwaukee Brewers has a convertible roof to keep out the rain when necessary.  And tonight they’ll need it closed, for tonight the Brewers will host their very first “Pride Night” at Miller Park.  Themed nights and sports teams go together like hand in well-worn baseball glove, and we’re not just talking “2 brats for $1 nights” either.  There have been everything from ethnic heritage nights to weird jersey nights to “retro nights” to movie nights.  Of the latter, Star Wars nights have been a big draw the past few years, especially in the minor leagues with their jerseys patterned after, say, Stormtroopers or Jedi masters.

Nights with more grounded themes have also been featured, including “Pride Nights” to celebrate the LGBT community.  Major League Baseball has seen an increase in Pride Nights in recent years, though some of its clubs have been laggards in paying official acknowledgement to our community.  Heck, whole leagues such as the NBA and WNBA have lapped MLB in paying respect to the LGBT community.

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Image source: Brewers.com

Thankfully, however, MLB has been on the ball (so to speak) in acknowledging and embracing the LGBT community in recent years.  And tonight (June 21), the Brewers will become the 23rd MLB team (out of 30) to officially stage a LGBT-oriented event during the 2018 regular season.  To borrow a quote from the Brewers’ website, this is a night aimed at “celebrating diversity and inclusion within the Brewers fan base, the Milwaukee community, and all of Major League Baseball.”  The events are slated to include a tailgate outside Miller Park held by the Milwaukee Gay Sports Network; the rainbow-themed shirt you see to your right; and, for those who purchased a special ticket package, the opportunity to participate in a pregame parade on the Miller Park warning track. (Yes, the chance to actually go on the field!)

How this Brewers’ Pride Night came about is a sweet story in itself.  A year ago, a Milwaukee resident and Brewers fan by the name of Hilary McCabe sent a note to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Jim Stingl lamenting the fact that the Brewers have never held some sort of in-game promotion to connect with the LGBT community.  Stingl forwarded that note to the Brewers’ vice-president of communications.  A few days after that, the Brewers formally joined the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce.  And earlier this year, when the Brewers released their roster of theme nights for the 2018 season, a Pride Night was included for the very first time… and appropriately enough during the traditional LGBT pride month of June.

As a Brewers fan and a part of the broad LGBT community, I’m so happy to see that the Brewers are embracing and officially acknowledging the LGBT portion of their fan base and our community as a whole.  It’s a great move, and part of a continuing move that began back in 2001 when the Chicago Cubs held their first “Out at Wrigley” event.  (Kudos to the Cubs for actually staging two LGBT pride events here in 2018, one earlier this month and the annual Out at Wrigley event coming up in August.)  There are now only two Major League Baseball teams who have never held an official pride night during their histories, the Yankees and the Angels.  Here’s hoping those two teams will finally get get on the ball (so to speak) and stage their own pride nights in 2019.

Oh, one must-read link to share with you:  If you think a pro sports team holding a night to embrace the LGBT community seems like small potatoes to you, think again.  Luke Schaetzel of the website SconnieSportsTalk.com (“An official student organization of the University of Wisconsin-Madison”) wrote a great opinion piece about the Brewers staging this event.  Luke ponders that somewhere out there, some young Brewers fan who’s struggling with their sexual and/or gender identity and feels alone and shut out will tune in to the game tonight and see the rainbow shirts and related paraphanelia.  And then, he writes, “That fan, that kid, is going to feel a hell of a lot better knowing their favorite baseball team supports who they are.”  Indeed, this relatively small move on the Brewers’ part will make a whole lot of difference in the long run.  Please read Luke Schaetzel’s opinion piece at this link.


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A poem: “Warmer”

The problems I encountered last winter with the heat in my apartment, which I recounted in this post, inspired me to write the following poem.  Enjoy!

“Warmth”

It’s getting hot in here
But I didn’t turn up the thermostat
Oh, I see why it is:
Smoothed-out legs
Fancy blouse
Lovely skirt
Awesome hair and makeup
A great look at myself in the mirror
I never realized how hot I can be
Or make this room feel like a summer beach

It’s suddenly cold around me
But there’s no thermostat
Oh, I see why it is:
Leering glances
Icy stares
Prejudice
Intolerance
Narrow-mindedness
Misogny and bigotry
From those who disdain me
And who don’t want me to show my face
I never realized how, with such a haunting pace
Hate can make the world a more chilly place

But it’s warming up again
Not a heat wave, far from it
For it’s much more comfortable than that
And I can see why it is:
A pat on the shoulder
A hug or two
Words of “Welcome”
And “I support you”
And “I accept you…
“for the beautiful person you are”
From people who are just like me
And others who support me
And the community in which I’m proud to be
I’m glad I can see
Well, to be reminded of it really
How a little friendship can go a long way
Toward making it a better day
There’s still hate’s winter around the corner
But I’m glad I now feel much warmer


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Happy Pride Month 2018!

320px-gay_flag-svgIt’s almost midway through the month of June and I’m way late into acknowledging the fact that this is Pride Month!  This, of course, is the month we in the LGBT community celebrate our community as a whole, display our true selves at various events, acknowledge the many figures and allies from around the world who have helped pave positive avenues for us as a community and as human beings, and to remember those in our community who left us too soon and who have handed us the (rainbow-colored) torch to hold high into the future.

I make that note of remembrance at the end of that paragraph in part to acknowledge this sad fact:  Two years ago this morning, 49 members of our proud LGBT community lost their lives in a truly senseless act of terror at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida.  It was heartbreaking to hear the news then. It’s just as heartbreaking to remember it now.  And it’s still necessary to remember the lives lost, for they dared to celebrate who they were and their deaths inspire us to stay resilient in the face of those who still desire to keep our community under their thumbs or out of sight entirely.

Despite the tragedies and difficulties and obstacles we still face as a community, it’s still important to celebrate who we are.  More importantly, we still need to celebrate how far we’ve come together… and, boy oh boy, we have come a long way, with positive representations in many types of media and with the assistance of a supportive generation who isn’t too quick to judge by sexual or gender identity, unlike the older, more conservative generations who only see us as a “sin”  Our community is talented, and we are deservedly valued and recognized for our positive contributions to society, no matter what letter of the acronym we fall under.

Not all of us will have the right and privilege to celebrate Pride Month this month.  Indeed, Green Bay (my old city of residence) will have their own pride celebration next month, while we in Madison will have our annual pride event in August.  But wherever you are and whenever you have the chance to do so, don’t be afraid to let your own rainbow shine.  Happy Pride Month, everyone!


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Allison’s #TryPod: “The Hilarious World of Depression”

Time for the last recommendation in my list of podcast programs that you should try out and enjoy.  Well, last for now, that is.  I say that because I’m not above coming back to this topic in the future and adding more entries, or at the very least add a list of “honorable mentions.”  And I’m definitely not above trying out something that you, the reader, are open to recommending, so hit me up in the comments section and offer your own thoughts and suggestions.

A bit of a caveat about this entry before you read on:  This recommendation deals with a usually dark subject.  And by pure coincidence, this recommendation comes at the end of a week (first full week of June 2018) that saw some pretty dark news that involves this pretty dark subject, as so succinctly summed up at this link.  You probably saw the last word in the title of this post and already feel skittish about hearing anything more about it.  But while I do hope you can hear me out (after all, this is technically a post about a podcast), I don’t blame you for wanting to hit the “back button” or “close button” on your browser or clicking on another post link.  So, if you want to do so, go ahead, because I’ll get into the subject matter after the jump. Continue reading


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These are jeans?!

Time for me to clear out a couple of bookmarked web items from my browser.  And I’m doing so with one hand holding my nose, because earlier this spring I bookmarked articles from The Independent and Teen Vogue about the same fashion item.  I’m hesitant to call it “fashion” as I’m not sure if this was just a case of someone pulling a late April Fools joke on the world.

What am I talking about exactly?  Well, three years ago I talked about a trend in denim called “distressed jeans.”  Basically, fashion brands and retailers made and marketed jeans that had intentional wears and tears in them.  These weren’t the still-very-comfortable-but-faded jeans in your closet.  Rather, these were jeans with tears, strains, bleached spots, and other on-purpose distresses that were put on sale for more than they looked like they were worth.  Yeah, you were able to go to an American Eagle or an H&M and plunk down large coin ($65 or so) and take home something you probably could have found for a lot, lot less at a Goodwill or St. Vincent de Paul, where the distresses in the jeans they sold were real because, well, someone else lived in them for a long period of time.

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