Allison M.

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

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Good luck


A green-dyed Chicago River (with everything else black and white apparently for good photographic effect) (Image source here)

Today is March 17, better known far and wide as Saint Patrick’s Day.  Traditionally, this date is the supposed death anniversary of Saint Patrick, who is widely considered both the patron saint of Ireland and the man who brought Christianity to the lush green isle several millennia ago.  This is as opposed to Saint Eligius, who is considered the patron saint of longshoremen and bowling aficionados. (Uh, wait a minute, that may not be right…)  The good citizens of Ireland treat this day with general solemnity and recognition of Irish pride; indeed, this is an official public holiday in Ireland.

Those who are part of the worldwide Irish diaspora have been credited with popularizing Saint Patrick’s Day on a global basis.  Thanks to the specter of commercialization this day has gained a life of its own here in America, especially since the mid 20th century.  Anything with a green and/or Irish theme seemingly pops up everywhere at this time of year:  Greeting card aisles are stocked with “Happy St. Patrick’s Day” cards.  Parades are held.  Traditional Irish music is played.  Bodies of water are dyed green.  Sports teams who don’t have green in their color scheme add it to their uniforms.  Party shops are loaded with green- or shamrock-themed party wares.  Speaking of parties, semi-responsible adults use this day as an excuse to drink beer and act uncouth (ugh).  And people of all ages put on real green clothing, fake Irish accents, and even faker Irish names (i.e. adding a “Mc” to the beginning of their surnames).

And it’s all done to foster, for better and (much) worse, Irish stereotypes, usually to a humorous or joyous intent if not always having a humorous or joyous effect.  True story:  When I lived in the Green Bay area, a morning radio team (classic rock station, of course) had an annual tradition of “staging” (note the quote marks) a “St. Patrick’s Day Parade” down the main boulevard of one of the cities in the area, complete with “marching bagpipe bands” (again, note the quote marks) with names that stereotype the various non-Irish European cultures that populate much of Wisconsin.  Definitely stereotypical, in more ways than the listener would expect on that day.  But at least their pointed non-stereotype jokes throughout the routine hit the mark.

Admittedly, as a naive kid of single-digit ages, I got roped into the Saint Patrick’s Day rigmarole.  For example, I would ask everyone I encountered, fellow kid or otherwise, “Hey, why aren’t you wearing green today?  You won’t get good luck now.”  Sometimes I would get away with asking that despite not wearing a hint of green on my own person, not even a green button.

But as I grew older and more wiser, I started seeing Saint Patrick’s Day for what it is:  Just another day that just happens to be marked in a special way on the calendar.  (No offense, of course, to the fair people of Ireland who treat this day with utmost respect.)  There are only a couple of minor items in my closet (both male and female sides) that have some sort of green, but I don’t drag them out and put them on just for the sake of this day.  I don’t put on a fake Irish accent or add a “Mc” to my name.  I don’t even buy a Shamrock Shake from McDonald’s.  And I most definitely do not drink copious amounts of green beer and party until the morning light (I’m a teetotaler, of course).

But if there is one Irish stereotype I admit to imbibing on today, it’s the thought of luck.  When reading up on Saint Patrick’s Day, I saw only one reference to luck, that being the tossing of a shamrock over the shoulder after taking a drink, for good luck.  I had always dismissed shamrocks and superstitions involving them as being equivalent to imagery of leprechauns — nothing more than representations of negative Irish stereotypes and symbols of a feeling of fortune not everyone can obtain.

But a couple of years ago on Saint Patrick’s Day, my Firefox browser displayed this:

Firefox shamrock 3-17-2016

And when I saw that image appear in my browser, it hit me like a ton of lead.  What was once (and still is?) regarded as Saint Patrick’s way of metaphorically describing the Christian Holy Trinity has become the quick go-to symbol of good luck, in lieu of the very rare four-leaf clover.  But more than the imagery, it’s the words that accompany it, or at least what accompanied this particular shamrock:  Good health.  Good luck.  Happiness.  On the 17th of March and every day.  At the end of a week when, at least professionally, I haven’t had a lot of good luck (and I feel downright scared about my work status), actually gaining good luck and happiness can feel very elusive elusive.  But it’s something I can hope for, if not make it possible.  And if I can’t entirely make it possible, at least being wished a lifetime of good luck and happiness, and wishing the same on others, can bring nothing but warmth to a heart that needs it.

So, on this Saint Patrick’s Day, here’s hoping that, as Firefox so aptly communicated, you have three wishes coming your way — wishes of good health, good luck, and warm happiness, not just today but every single day.  Enjoy your day.


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A quick thought or two on International Women’s Day

I hadn’t been planning to write a blog post tonight, but the significance of today is too important to ignore.  So, here goes, and forgive me if the thoughts I want to communicate don’t come out perfect:  Today (March 8) is International Women’s Day.  Basically, this is a date to commemorate the progress women have made throughout the world, honor the women who pushed for that progress, and recognize the progress that still needs to be gained to ensure that women worldwide have equal rights and opportunities.

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When a playful side comes out

Slightly risque and not quite perfect in leather

Just a quick thought to share.  And, yes, this photo looks familiar.  It’s one of the pictures I shared in my previous post, during which I recounted my day posing for Caitlin at Smoketree Photography (gotta give credit where credit is due).  When I posted this photo to Flickr, I added an aside I want to expand on a little bit here.  One of the outtakes from my session with Caitlin was of me having a little bit of playful fun with the traffic driving past our shooting location.  I gave the traffic a playful waive of the hand, as if to say, “Well, hello there, good looking.”

One thing’s for sure:  Male Mode Me would never do something as playful as that.

If you’ve ever put on a costume for Halloween, perhaps you notice that your personality changes a little bit.  Your inhibitions start to loosen up, and you go from someone who’s rather reserved to one who is more outgoing than usual.  The happy feelings you exude rub off on everyone around you; that joy and happiness spreads quickly.  It’s almost as if a light switch in your mind is flicked from “off” to “on,” doesn’t it?

Every time I get dressed up, be it for venturing out or just staying inside, I notice a clear change in my personality.  Male Mode Me and his straitlaced, reserved personality “steps out of sight” for a bit.  In his place steps Allison, ready to brighten everyone’s day and offer a little bit of playfulness for the mirror, a camera, or a stranger passing by.

For sure, I am definitely more confident and outgoing when dressed up as Allison, which isn’t always how Male Mode Me appears to be.  Methinks Male Mode Me could stand to learn a lesson or two from Allison.

For my fellow crossdressers out there:  When you shed those male mode clothes and step into your favorite skirt or dress, do you tend to notice a more playful, more outgoing, more confident version of yourself making their presence known?

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Random stuff (1/27/2018 edition)

After another long, tiring, downer of a week, I thought I’d use this Saturday post to catch up on some works of note from the accomplished actress Jessica Chastain.  And it’s not just about her acting skills, which I’ll dive into in a moment.  To use a common contemporary term, Ms. Chastain is one woke person, and not just because she wears black on the Golden Globes red carpet in solidarity for the Time’s Up movement.  Nope, Jessica Chastain talks the talk and walks the walk.  She has been a prominent voice regarding the issues of gender equality, safety, and misogyny that are plaguing Hollywood.  A particular concern of hers has been matters of pay equality:  When she’s negotiating to be the leading lady in a film, Jessica abides by a personal rule of seeking compensation for her talents that’s equal to that of the male lead (the “favored nation” clause).  Even if the producers balk or she must walk away from a plum role, Jessica takes satisfaction in drawing that line of fairness, no matter how many zeroes that paycheck may or may not include.  In other words, it’s not about the money; it’s about sticking to her principles of equal pay for equal work.

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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 the whole world

Show me all that you claim is ugly
And I’ll show you a mirror
So that you can look into it
And see true ugliness
Staring right back at you


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 the 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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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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Three years into this blogging thing

It’s Friday as I write this, and I have the entire day off.  A good thing, yes, since it gives me a three-day weekend.  But it’s an even better thing for me since it’s been a major bummer of a week, thanks to taking my (supposedly) sweet little car into the shop not once but twice.  The first, unplanned visit was because of a flat tire.  On my drive into work on Monday, I had to dodge a little yet quite noticeable something that the construction site across from my place of employment did not sweep up.  However, I heard a little “pop” in the back of my car.  While I had dodged what I had to dodge, I wasn’t expecting something else in the road — a nail, which I didn’t realize I had run over until my work day ended and I came back to my car.  The good news is that there was a tire place literally two doors down from my place of employment, and they were able to replace my tires and get me back on the road that night. (I say “tires” because they got me with the up-sell thing and replaced both of my rear tires, since they didn’t have a single tire in stock that matched the size of the good rear tire.)

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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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