Allison M.

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


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A poem: “Drive”

Many, many, many moons ago, when WordPress was still keeping active their site of daily writing prompts, I came across one of their one-words prompts:  Drive.”  That’s all it was, just the word “drive.”

I started to write a poem as a response to that one word.  Emphasis on the word “started,” as I had a hard time finishing it.  I wanted it to be longer and more direct than what you’ll read below.  But at least the theme is still what I originally had in mind — the fact that the word “drive” has more than one meaning, and isn’t just about taking your car somewhere.

Drive

Okay, so you have a car
It can get you from “Point A” to “Point B”
From this old town you’ve been in forever
To somewhere where you’ve never been before

Why are you in your car?
Why are you going from “Point A” to “Point B”?
Are you sure you need a car to get there?
Perhaps your life is in need of repair?

Maybe you need some gas in your tank
No, not the tank in your car
But the one in your soul
Or at least a better map
That doesn’t show the road
You’ve driven into a deep, deep groove

Yeah, keep going from “Point A” to “Point B”
But don’t forget the other routes
That may take you to “Point C”


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Mental health

Well I try my best
To be just like I am
But everybody wants you
To be just like them
lyrics from “Maggie’s Farm” by Bob Dylan

It’s almost June 2018, but there’s a leftover topic from one of my WordPress friends’ list of “June Jour” writing challenges from June 2017, a topic that I had started response to but never finished until now.  I’ll start with old news from the sporting world from the very end of last June.  Well, it was peripherally from the sports world, but it did involve a figure from Major League Baseball.  Umpire John Tumpane was heading back to the Pittsburgh Pirates’ home ball park, ostensibly to prepare for that night’s game, when he saw something peculiar on the suspension bridge that approaches the stadium.  On the bridge was a 23-year-old woman who told Tumpane, as he would recall later, that she wanted to “get a better look of the city from this side” — that is, from the other side of the railing that separates the pedestrians from the Allegheny River down below.

Naturally, Tumpane, when noticing that the woman appeared to be very emotional and distraught and did not want to climb back over to safety, grabbed her in order to prevent her from jumping, restraining her while others came to assist him and until authorities came to take control of the situation.  Tumpane has since been lauded for his actions (and deservedly so), from those in local media, to those to assisted him, to at least one mental health expert, to even the Pirates, who recognized Tumpane for his actions before that night’s game.

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Allison remembers her first eclipse

This is another of those times when I was planning to write about one subject, but my attention is directed to a totally different subject.  So, instead of writing about dressing up or whatever I was going to write about (I’ve forgotten already), here I am responding to this one-word Daily Post prompt:  Eclipse.

When I saw the prompt today, my mind didn’t think of any existentialist definition of the word “eclipse” but rather automatically thought of the astronomical term, precisely a solar eclipse, which, for all you kids out there who haven’t taken any science classes yet, is when the moon crosses between the sun and the earth, causing part or all of the sunlight to disappear from view.  The most epic version of a solar eclipse is when the moon is close enough to Earth to completely cover all traces of sunlight — the total eclipse.

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A poem: “Layers”

This quick poem is inspired by one of The Daily Post’s writing prompts, which is simply one word: Layers. So, my poem is called…

“Layers”

Go ahead, take a look at me
What do you see?

You see a beautiful head of hair
But it’s just the wig du jour

You see a smile in lipstick
But that can be wiped off (kissed off, if the mood is right)

You see a blouse and a skirt
But they keep me from being naked

You see layers of concealer and blush
But it’s all painted on with a trowel, really

You see eyeshadow, eyeliner, and mascara
But they only hide something inside me

Oh, you couldn’t tell?
It’s true, I keep things hidden
(No, not just the obvious)
They are hidden layers
Under these layers of clothes and makeup and hair

No, I won’t tell you about them just now
Let me see first if you’d be accepting

Seriously, I must investigate your feelings
If you didn’t see me wearing this hair
If you saw me without my makeup
If you saw me in another gender’s clothes
Would you still accept me?
Would you accept all sides of me?

If you would… oh, if only you would…
I’d love to tell you
About the many layers I wear daily
No, not just two genders’ layers
But the layers of life I always wear

Oh, yes, I wear extra layers
Every second, every hour, every day
No matter what the temperature may say

Every day, I add new layers
They’re layers created by life’s ups and downs
It’s greatest moments and saddest times
Layers first donned in places near and far
Because of decisions good and bad
And right turns and wrong ways

You can’t see these layers of life
At least not with the naked eye
But if you could accept the layers you see now
And accept the other layers you cannot yet see
Could you accept the other layers I may later reveal?

In your heart, I know you could accept them
For maybe… just maybe…
You’re wearing the same layers of life as I


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The nature of summer

Yesterday (June 20) was the summer solstice here in the Northern Hemisphere.  That’s the excuse I’ll give, if anyone asks, for not writing a new post yesterday.  Okay, that’s not true:  I had to work all day.  Yeah, not the grandest way to spend the first day of summer.  At least it was downright sunny and crystal clear here in Madison on Monday.  Oh, and warm.  Very warm.  How do I know this?  I spent a little bit of time outside during my lunch break.  I’m glad I did for the wonderful weather made that outside time very enjoyable.

I devote that first paragraph to summertime because I’m inspired by not only this writing prompt from F.C. about nature but this one-word prompt from The Daily Post about summer.  I’ll put them together here and opine about natural beauty in the summertime.

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A poem: “My Legacy”

Time for me to add to a blog category I haven’t added to in a long while, that category being “Allison’s Not-Quite-Daily Daily Writing Challenge.”  For the uninitiated, I based this category on the writing prompts put out by WordPress’ The Daily Post blog.  Since the end of February, the daily writing prompts The Daily Post have been putting out have been nothing but one word.  No fun, interesting, or thought-provoking questions or any what-would-you-do types of crazy situations.  Nope, just one single solitary word along with a link for instructions on how to contribute.

Though I’m sure relying on just one word can inspire a lot of other bloggers out there to write a reply (and judging from the volume of responses to some of them, a one-word topic can be an inspiring thing), I have to say that I miss the thought-provoking and crazy questions because, well, they make me really think about my life and my place in it.  In short, I think a one-word prompt is not as fun to write for.  No offense, maintainers of The Daily Post.

So, while I beg and plead for said Daily Post maintainers to bring back the thought-provoking questions (okay, all that begging and pleading is just in my mind), I can always go back on their older prompts and think of how to respond.  But then, there is something to be said about brevity, which is why this post is a response to a one-word prompt The Daily Post put out last month:  “Legacy.”

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Video me or audio me?

Back on New Year’s Eve, I posted a video of myself on YouTube addressing my younger self. (If you missed it, it’s at this link.)  I bring up that video because, for one, it was the very first time I presented a video of myself as Allison online.  But also, I thought of that video when reading today’s Daily Post writing prompt, which asks which one of these do you find unbearable:  Watching a video of yourself, or listening to an audio recording of your voice?

Well, I’ve previously been on record as not having a very good ability to impress others when presenting myself — no, not as Allison, but in a situation such as a speech, a job interview, or even a date.

But the question here comes down to my moving image or my speaking voice.  And to be honest, when it comes at least to Male Mode Me, I can’t stand either one.  I have squirmed uncomfortably when viewing myself (as Male Mode Me, that is) after making a videotaped presentation.  Even after practice, my lack of confidence shows through my body language and my verbal skills.

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Allison in Madison: Terrace chairs

I wanted to respond to a photo challenge The Daily Post has put out, a challenge to feature something that comes in threes, with a somewhat impromptu installment of “Allison in Madison.”  I say “impromptu” since it doesn’t feature a photo of a notable locale here in Madison, but it does represent something you’d find there.  This is what I’m talking about:

DSCN3817Virtually every Madisonian and every student or alum of the University of Wisconsin—Madison will recognize the design on these three matching miniature chairs.  These are replicas of the famous Sunburst chairs found at the Terrace of the UW’s Memorial Union.  The Terrace, situated on the beautiful shores of Lake Mendota, is one of the most beautiful spots in town and certainly one of the most beautiful locales on any college campus. (Try to top that, Northwestern.)  The chair design dates back to at least the 1930s, and the colors are intentional: Green, orange, and yellow represent not only common colors of farm tractors in Wisconsin (or at least certain makes of tractors) but the colors of autumn and spring, seasons the UW student body associates with the start and end of the school year.

At the moment, the Union Terrace is undergoing a major renovation, so for the most part the Terrace is off limits; and since it’s also almost winter, the famous chairs and the tables that go with them are likely in storage.  But for those longing for the warmer months, or the completion of the Terrace’s facelift — or for the alums who want a little something to remind them of the UW — they can purchase these miniatures at the Union’s gift shop.  Even though I’m not a UW alum (though my sister is), I keep these as a reminder that, wherever life will take me, nothing will match the unique beauty of Madison.


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My (More Than) Seven Words

It’s been a very busy Thursday for me, working up a storm during the day and then baking a cake tonight to bring to work tomorrow (and literally running a half-mile to the nearby CVS to buy frosting because I forgot to buy cake frosting at the supermarket).  Needless to say, I wasn’t planning to do any blog writing tonight.  But then I came across this new Daily Post prompt:

Khalil Gibran once said, ‘We will never understand one another until we reduce the language to seven words.’ What would your seven words be?

First of all, I never heard of Kahlil Gibran before looking him up on Wikipedia.  It was there that I noticed a line from one of his poems, “Sand and Foam,” which states, “Half of what I say is meaningless, but I say it so that the other half may reach you.”  Sounds like he was someone who understood the power of words.

Mr. Gibran also sounds like he was someone who believed in the power of brevity with words, hence the above thought about reducing language to seven words.  But I would never want to sound like I’m an ancient neanderthal caveman (“Fire!  Bad!”); a talk radio host (“Agree with me, or I’ll destroy you!”); or someone trying to think up of an ad slogan for something like, say, fast food restaurants (“Meat. Fire. Good.”).  So, I’m going to take the tact done by several of the responders to Daily Post’s idea and limit my seven words to one simple yet easy-to-comprehend (hopefully) phrase.  And that phrase is this:

“Normally a man, but sometimes a woman.”

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Periods, colons, and spaces

I’ve been trying to work on a longer post, but for the sake of putting out a quick post, I’ll respond here to this Daily Post prompt about what they call “strange relationships with punctuation.”  They ask, “What type of punctuation could you never live without? Tell us all about your punctuation quirks!”

Well, my punctuation quirk doesn’t involve an actual mark so much as what comes after it.  I’m taking about what comes after periods and colons.  In my days in high school typing class, I was always taught that two spaces follow the period that marks the end of a sentence, the reasoning being that that extra space helps the reader understand that that’s the end of a sentence (or so I recall our teacher telling us).  To this day, when I type out something long and major like, say, this post, I always hit the space bar twice after the end of a sentence.

Note, though, that I use the phrase “something long and major” in that last paragraph.  When I first started my Twitter account in early 2011, I ended sentences in mid-tweet with a period and two spaces out of my long-practiced habit.  But then, Twitter is a 104-character universe, and those characters come at a premium.  So, slowly but surely, I broke that two-space habit on Twitter.

Interestingly, Twitter is the only place where I use one space after the period instead of two.  When I’m typing out a blog post (as I mentioned above) or composing a letter, e-mail, or correspondence at work or in personal matters, I still use two spaces after the period.  Though I’ve heard it’s now common practice to use one space instead of two after the period, especially in this era of electric correspondence, I still use the two-space thing.  The teacher in high school was right:  I think that extra space looks nicer and more understandable.

Oh, you may (or may not?) have noticed I used two spaces after that colon at the end of that last paragraph.  That was something I was taught in high school typing as well:  Use two spaces after the colon (I did it there again) to help emphasize the words and sentence that will follow.  Again, it’s probably a side effect of the electronic universe that two spaces after the colon is no longer necessary.  However, I’ve been able to break that habit a little better than using spaces after the period.  Perhaps it’s a way of telling myself that ending a sentence clearly is more important than starting a new but related thought or list after the colon.

Are there other punctuation quirks that you tend to use?  Feel free to add yours to the Daily Post’s collection of responses (don’t forget to ping back to their prompt).  I’ve perused through a few of the responses, and one that’s piqued my interest is this one from laufvergnügen about emdashes (another one I have quirks with, though not as noticeable or important to me as spaces following periods/colons).  That post includes this quote:  “Sometimes, I feel like people avoid certain punctuation because they’re unsure of how to use it and don’t want to appear foolish.”  Yeah, I imagine everyone has that unsure feeling whenever they use punctuation in their writing.  (Gee, have we forgotten everything we’ve learned in typing and grammar classes?  Perhaps that in itself is another subject for another day.)