Allison M.

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


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Random stuff (12/2/2017 edition)

12-1-2017 944-02pmA quick post to reflect on a couple of things from the world of performing arts, one featuring yours truly and one not.  The former of the two goes first:  I dolled myself up last night (Friday) and returned to Mother Fool’s for the open-mic poetry event it hosts every month.  I hadn’t been to Mother Fool’s in a while, and the good feeling I had performing there, combined with the equally good feelings lingering from my performance at Trans Monologues last month, drove me to perform at Mother Fool’s again.

As is usually the procedure with the Mother Fool’s poetry and freeform events, those who wanted to perform added their name to a basket, from which the host (more on him in a moment) pulled out names to determine the order of performances.  I was the penultimate name pulled, taking the mic at around a quarter to 10PM.  By chance, I had a literal front row seat to the entire show; the table you see in the foreground of this photo is where I sat, with a lady sitting at the next table obliging to take photos while I was at the mic.  By chance or error, she hit the “video record” button on my phone’s camera a couple of times; they were brief and incomplete, but I’m tempted to edit and post them to show… well, audio proof that I perform my poetry.  (If I do, a bit of a spoiler alert:  I still not the most confident performer.)

Two spots after my 5-minute slot, which included 3 of my poems (including the holiday-themed first poem I ever posted here), the host took to the mic to finish off the event with a morose and rather morbid listing of the mass shootings in the United States over the past 5 years, including date and incident (his last entry was, “Next date: To be announced”).  The host was Ron Czerwein, who owns the Avol’s Books consignment business that operates out of A Room of One’s Own downtown.  For reasons left undisclosed, Friday was Ron’s last night hosting poetry open mic at Mother Fool’s.  The plan is for him to cede host duties to a rotation of four hosts, with one of the quartet caring for the hosting duties each month (including, presumably, making arrangements for the guest performers who open each event).  Two of those four hosting slots were still open, according to Ron, and being the type of person who wants to help out any way I can, I was tempted to inquire about the host slots.  I didn’t, however, because for one, I don’t have any real skills at arranging event logistics.  Also, I’m still relatively new at poetry writing and presenting.  Perhaps if I had more of those logistical and performing skills, I would have stepped up and asked, “Hey, do you need a fourth host?”  Maybe that will change in the future.

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Why I’m thankful (or not thankful) on Thanksgiving 2017

As I write this, it’s Thanksgiving morning in the United States.  As my fellow Americans surely know by now, this is a day to meet up with family, eat copious amounts of food, watch grown men hit each other on only 3 days’ rest… and try to think of what they’re thankful for.  I’ve thought a bit about the intent of this holiday’s title, and in this post I’ve compiled some of things I’m thankful for — and a few I’m not thankful for — here in 2017.

  • I am thankful for still being employed.  Well, duh.  And while some of the work may be tedious, and while this is one of the busiest times of year for our team, at least I am doing a job I mostly enjoy using skills I’m proud to possess.
  • Despite my own employment and the fact that Madison has a pretty good climate for job prospects and growth, I am not thankful that this Thanksgiving finds some around here who, for reasons beyond their control, must go without gainful employment  Case in point:  Someone I’ve built a good friendship with this past year (more on how that came about in a little bit) was let go from her steady job last summer.  As with other unemployed people around here, I sincerely hope my friend will gain a job with a company that will appreciate her skills, her work ethic, and especially her passion for those who have less and for life in general.  (Side note to my friend:  I apologize in advance that my bringing up your plight on here may make you sad on this day, but know that I am here to respect and support you and wish you nothing but the best.)
  • I am thankful that I still live in such a wonderful, progressive, and wonderfully progressive community that is Madison.
  • I am even more thankful that I’ve had the opportunity — and the gumption — to step out as Allison into a city so welcoming.  I’ll likely bring this up again in an end-of-year post, but 2017 has been a big year for my stepping out of my wardrobe and into the world, from performing poetry to marching in a parade to attending a banquet.  These are experiences that I will never forget.
  • I am thankful for the health and happiness of my family.  I’m also thankful that we’ve grown bigger through the uniting in marriage of my youngest sister with her husband and his extended family (including his daughters).
  • I am also thankful that my four nieces are growing into wonderful young women.  One of them graduated from high school this year, and I hope she has ventured into what will be a positive future for her.  I hope, too, that my other nieces will have positive futures of their own.
  • I am not thankful that some in my family have our differences.  Those differences have been shown bare through Facebook:  My mom is among a (thankfully) few of my Facebook friends who are not above sharing a conservative-leaning meme with their friends.  At least I’m not one who uses Facebook much (at least as Male Mode Me), so I don’t have to see those irritating memes very much.  When I do, however, I’m not above using the “angry” reaction button to show my displeasure (I hope Mom and my Facebook friends get the message).
  • Needless to say, I am not thankful that our society has become more and more divided over the past year since You Know Who was elected You Know What.  Most of the previous 8 years, we didn’t have that feeling of our country being ripped apart centimeter by centimeter.  Now, in the past year, it’s as if those rips are not metaphoric and are miles in width — with the chasm being filled not by bridges but by walls.
  • Despite that, I am thankful that a great many people in this country are willing to stand up for what’s right and just, rising above the hatred and vitriol to stand for a country that should not have fear and hatred as its bedrock.
  • Above all else, I am very, very thankful to have joined and in and being a relatively active part of a transgender/crossdresser support group over the past year.  I regularly meet up with this group’s members, and they have proven to be a wonderful group.  They are ready to lend an an ear, their advice, and their support to those like me, regardless how how we identify.  (Respect for others’ differences is our group’s own bedrock.)
  • I have come to know my above mentioned friend through this TG/CD group; she is a cis-gender ally who respects and admires us for the people we are and the identity we know we are.  Friendships like this can be a rare thing for some, and I’m very glad — and very, very thankful — to have found such a friendship.

And just as I am very, very thankful for the friends I’ve built over the past year, I am very, very thankful for your readership and kind words.  Whoever you are, wherever you may be, whatever your identity, and whatever your background, here’s hoping Thanksgiving 2017 proves to be a happy time for you, and that you have your own reasons to be thankful.  Have a safe and enjoyable day.


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Fifty-two weeks after

Okay, I must apologize at the outset, because I’m going to get politically serious on this post.  So with that being said, brace yourselves:

For those of whatever persuasion who are big on anniversaries, you probably are aware of the chilling anniversary being marked this week:  One year ago, a man who is vain, egotistical, lewd, misogynistic, hateful, womanizing, racist, and chauvinistic was elected President of the United States.  It was an election outcome not very many at the time expected would happen, but happen it did.

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Random stuff: The cast of “Pose”

Just a quick post to highlight some awesome news from the world of television.  Earlier this month, I had mentioned in this post news about a a series of open casting calls for trans actors put on by the Casting Society of America (CSA).  Part of the reasoning for the CSA-staged events is to help stem the bias (conscious or otherwise) in Hollywood toward casting cis-gender actors in trans roles; to counter the belief that there isn’t enough trans talent in show business; and to help spearhead a commitment toward a newer, more diverse generation of showbiz talent.

Apparently, Ryan Murphy was way ahead of the CSA.  If you’ve watched or read about any bit of TV over the past decade or so, you’ve certainly heard about Ryan Murphy, or at least seen his name in the producing, writing, or directing credits of such prominent series as Glee and American Horror Story.  And he’s not resting on his laurels, for word came earlier this year of his latest proposed project for the FX cable network, a dramatic series called Pose.  What will it be about?  Well, here, as first reported back in March, is Pose‘s premise:

Set in 1986, Pose looks at the juxtaposition of several segments of life and society in New York:  The rise of the luxury Trump-era universe, the downtown social and literary scene, and the ball cultural world.

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A quick thought or two on this Spirit Day

While I wrack my brain over how to write my next big post (okay, it might not be that big), I want to make note of something that almost escaped my mind:  Today is Spirit Day, which has been held the third Thursday of October every year since 2010.  It’s a day set aside for LGBTQ awareness and support, and was initially created in the wake of bullying and suicide incidents among gay youth.  Spirit Day is meant to honor the LGBT youth who, sadly, felt taking their own lives was the only option to end their hurt, and also to tell the LGBT youth of today who are bullied that there are those who are very supportive (the color purple is prominently used to deliver that message).

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Random stuff (10/15/2017 edition)

Just a couple quick thoughts to share on this Sunday afternoon.  First, as I noted in my post from Friday morning, I did indeed stay away completely from Twitter all day Friday. I did so as a show of support to the “#WomenBoycottTwitter” protest meant to highlight Twitter’s inequities in applying discipline in matters of harassment and safety among its users, especially in situations where women on Twitter were being harassed and Twitter did little or nothing to punish the misogynistic men that freely hurled the abuse.

So, how did it feel, you’re asking?  For me, of course, it felt somewhat liberating to be away from the 140-character universe.  Rather than read and scroll ad infinitum through my Twitter timeline (both my female and male accounts), instead I checked out my Facebook accounts.  Since joining Facebook this year, I’ve been rather conservative in my use of that platform (i.e. usually visiting it once or twice a day).  But on Friday, Facebook served as a nice substitute.  So did, Instagram, which Male Mode Me has an account on.  The nice thing about Instagram is that it lets the pictures do the talking, and just like one of those fidget spinners (the big fad of 2017), the photos can be so soothing, especially when it’s a nature or broad landscape photo.  Ahhh…

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My less-than-enjoyable Labor Day

Today is Labor Day, traditionally known here in the United States as a day to recognize the labor force… and, yeah, to have one last day of summer before autumn settles in.  Now, if you’re like most people, you probably have this Labor Day off from work.  I did as well, and to celebrate, I went to work.  No, not to sit in my cubicle and pound out the work I do when it’s a Monday that’s not a holiday.  Rather, I worked out in the fitness center at our place of employment, one of the perks provided to anyone who works there.  Well, let me clarify that:  It’s open to anyone employed at the companies in that building (we have more than one business in our building).

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Random stuff: Drag Queen Storytime

Though I might have mentioned this once or twice on here previously, I’ll mention it again right now:  The past few years, I, in male mode, have done volunteer work with children.  Yep, I’ve made visits to elementary schools here in the Madison area to help teach young children (mostly 2nd graders but some appearances with 1st and 3rd graders and even one kindergarten class) some general, friendly lessons about the importance of work and money.

Take note of the words “in male mode” in that last paragraph.  For one, while I do feel more expressive as Allison than I do as Male Mode Me, I won’t go so far as to display Allison in front of a class of impressionable elementary school children.  And it’s not necessarily because I’m representing a very reputable educational organization who takes the conduct of their volunteers seriously.  No, part of the reason is that I’m best working with a script, whether it be a folder full of poetry as Allison or a volunteer’s manual as Male Mode Me.  Take that script away from me and I begin to hem and haw and stammer and stutter, which doesn’t impress any audience of any age.  And before you ask, no, I can’t even improvise my way out of a paper bag.

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Totally eclipsed

Before I go any further, a quick note about something I’ll go into detail about in a later post:  Yesterday, I got dolled up and marched as Allison in Madison’s LGBT+ pride parade.  It was such an amazing experience displaying my usually closeted feminine side and standing alongside fellow members of Madison’s LGBT+ community, especially the “T” of that acronym, the transgender community and our allies.  I can’t wait to do it again in the future.

But that’s for another post, I promise.  I want to do this quick post about today’s big news:  August 21, 2017 is the date when a solar eclipse marches across the continental United States, with a total eclipse visible (or at least noticeable) across a stretch from Oregon to South Carolina.  Last year, in this post, I recalled the last time a total eclipse cast its shadow on the U.S. in 1979, and in it I mentioned that I hoped to get the urge to “call in sick” to work on this day (“I’ll just tell management that I’ll get a sudden case of being 9 years old all over again”).

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A big pride weekend

Happy weekend, peoples!  I’m writing this post on a “tape-delay” Friday evening; hopefully, if the WordPress settings are accurate, this will be delivered to you first thing Saturday morning.  Why am I writing this on Friday night and posting it on Saturday morning?  Well, I’m going to be very busy not just Saturday morning but all weekend; I’ll talk my to-do list in a moment.

First, though, I want to tell you about a celebration occurring southeast of Madison, in a place called Walworth County.  It’s just over 102,000 in population; it’s mostly though not entirely rural; it’s generally conservative in culture; and it’s home to the University of Wisconsin—Whitewater, the Alpine Valley resort and music theater, and the vacation spot Lake Geneva.  And on Saturday, it will hold its first ever LGBT “pride fair,” conducted from 10AM to 3PM on the Chamber of Commerce grounds in the county seat of Elkhorn.

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