Unfortunately, some after-work matters kept me from joining in with some of my TG friends on something important earlier this evening. I’ll start with introducing a word to you: TERF. Yes, it’s an acronym, and an unfortunate one at that. “TERF” stands for “trans-exclusionary radical feminist.” Or in layman’s terms, a TERF is someone who promotes and/or holds generally progressive views on topics that affect women, but would rather not include transgender females in the conversation.
It’s Sunday afternoon as I write this, and I’m pretty much relaxing today. I’m writing this post, of course. I’m also doing a little bit of laundry. And my only form of exercise today has been a leisurely walk around the neighborhood and nearby nature preserve. I’m eschewing my usual Sunday trip to the gym at work to get in some heavy-duty exercise. That’s because I put in a big amount of heavy-duty exercising yesterday.
As I did in 2016 and 2017, I signed up for and ran in the Crazylegs Classic. For those new to this blog and haven’t previously read those posts (or this one), the Crazylegs Classic is an 8-kilometer (4.97-mile) run conducted the last Saturday of every April by the University of Wisconsin—Madison. It’s a fundraiser for the school’s athletic program, with proceeds helping to support operations and low-revenue teams on the Badgers program.
I’ve confessed this on here once or twice before, but I am not the greatest of public speakers. I am also not one who’s capable of thinking on the fly. Case in point, last Saturday night, when I took part in a “freeform” open mic performance show at Mother Fools coffee house. Rather than read a typed-out poem as I have done in prior performances, instead I took the “freeform” part to heart and do a part-monologue, part stand-up performance. Yes, I typed out some notes in my phone, and I rehearsed some of what I wanted to say in my head beforehand.
But when I stepped up to the microphone, however… uh, yeah, it wasn’t pretty. I stammered and hemmed and hawed quite a bit, forgetting what I had written down and rehearsed. For some reason, I also didn’t look at the notes on my phone very much. Needless to say, I didn’t rehearse as much as I should have before last Saturday’s performance, nor did I do a lot of memorizing. I received a polite, appreciative applause from the audience when I left the stage, but to me that polite applause felt more like a participation medal than a rousing reaction.
That less-than-rousing performance inspired me to write the poem you’re about to read. You’ll notice it has quite of flying allusions, as well as some self-criticism. I am my own worst critic at times, and I feel that need to bring myself back down to Earth and avoid being too confident in my less-than-stellar performance abilities. Well, at least when it comes to performing without a script. And a script is what I’ll be sticking to in the foreseeable future. Yes, I do look forward to performing again in the future, perhaps as soon as the end of this month, when another open mic event at Mother Fools is scheduled. But I’m definitely going to stay grounded with a prepared script… and quite a bit of practice beforehand.
So, you want to be a high flyer
Reach heights you’ve never attained
Be in spots where you’ve never been
And do things you’ve rarely done
And you want to do all that right away?
Like, right now?
At this moment?
With the whole world watching?
But… are you sure you know where you’re going?
And how to get there?
I ask because, judging from how everyone’s squirming
You sure don’t know where you’re going
Yeah, you sure didn’t plan out this flight you’re piloting
You’re tilting from one wing to another
And you’re about to crash land
Oh, don’t worry; everyone will survive
But there will be two casualties:
And your pride
Yes, you really want to fly
But you don’t know how to fly
Not yet, anyway
Before you grab that joystick again
(No, not that one)
How about reading the flight manual first?
Log some hours in the flight simulator
Maybe take a training run or two
Draw out that flight plan a little better
I know, all that pre-planning won’t be fun
But if you do all that first
You’ll gain lots of confidence
Your propellers will be ready to turn
Then, you can put aside that training manual
Because you’ll know by heart
What you’ve been wanting… nay, desiring
To tell the world what’s in your heart
And then, the world see how strong you are
Not to mention your big, beautiful heart
And they’ll happily get on board with you
To heights you never imagined
Oh, they didn’t mind flying with you before
But they’ll really love flying with you
If you practice, practice, practice
At being a high flyer
You may recall that earlier this month of March, I participated in another poetry reading as Allison. That particular Friday night here in Madison wasn’t too chilly, meaning that the comfy winter coat I had just added to my closet would have been a little too much. But then, it wasn’t anywhere near balmy, meaning a light jacket would leave me chattering my teeth on the walk from my car to Mother Fool’s.
But earlier that day, out of pure coincidence, I came across this College Fashionista article that gave a nice recommendation for the season: Layers are a great way to combat the chilly air that always comes with late winter/early spring weather March forces upon us. The article came with a couple of pictures of outfits featuring long coats. Problem was, I didn’t have any long coat in my closet.
Luckily, I checked out of work a little early that Friday, giving me a little extra time to head down the road to Target to see if they had any long coats. Thankfully, they did.
I won’t try to get too political here, but I want to share some thoughts inspired by a significant recent event, one I’m sure you may have heard about: Last Saturday, millions of students and their adult supporters marched across the country, an effort to highlight the need for stronger, stricter regulations concerning firearms — the “March for Our Lives.” The most publicized march occurred in Washington, D.C., but other “sibling marches” occurred, including here in Madison, where 2,500 participants marched up State Street and convened on the State Capitol grounds. (I wish I hadn’t been preoccupied last Saturday so that I would have joined in.)
It’s Sunday afternoon as I write this, and instead of going to the gym or running errands as I usually do on a Sunday, I’m just relaxing and doing an odd job or two around the house. And, of course, writing this blog entry. The reason I’m relaxing is because the past 48 hours or so have been pretty busy for my feminine side. The CD/trans support group I’m a part of had a Saturday afternoon meeting. And Friday night, I took part in what I want to talk up here — another open-mic poetry reading Friday night at Mother Fool’s coffee house on Williamson Street.
Okay, okay, you’ve had your fill of me talking about the business world, and I hear you. You want to see an actual new photo of me? Well, let me take care of that right here and now. If you’ve noticed the calendar, it’s still February. And here in Wisconsin, February still means we’re in the grips of winter, no matter what some groundhog may say. And when it’s winter in Wisconsin, one really needs to bundle themselves up before opening the front door and facing winter’s chill and snow. And that includes…
Yep, a winter coat. The past year-plus, I’ve been venturing out of the house as Allison much more often, primarily to support group meetings. Before this winter, I never had a women’s winter coat. No, I don’t mean the leather or denim jackets that occupy my closet; as lovely as they are in their own right, they’re more suited for a season like spring or autumn, when the weather in Wisconsin isn’t as harsh as what winter regularly brings. So, back in December, I moseyed over to the Burlington that’s located here on the West side. When you think of Burlington, you tend to think of coats (it’s website is still BurlingtonCoatFactory.com), although it also features other clothing as well as home decor and gifts. But it’s that “Coat Factory” part of its old name that still makes me think of Burlington as a store for affordable outerwear. And sure enough, this purple Madden Girl coat was on the sales rack.
Time for some self-honesty about my professional life. As I’ve mentioned once or twice on here previously, I have been a devoted volunteer. I hesitate to specify who I volunteer for, out of a need to keep my male side’s professional integrity and dignity intact. I will, however, hint that part of my volunteering involves work with a certain educational organization that has a presence here in Dane County. It was with that organization that I volunteered with earlier today.
A couple of quick thoughts on this Sunday afternoon. First, I had mentioned in my last post about a bill in the Wisconsin State Assembly that would prevent local municipalities in the state (cities, counties, townships, etc.) from enacting and enforcing anti-discriminatory employment regulations and protections. A State Assembly committee had a hearing on the measure Wednesday afternoon. And from what I recall hearing Friday night at the trans/CD support group I regularly attend, there is a little bit of good news on the matter. Apparently, there were quite a bit of comments made in the hearing against the bill. And it may have made an influence on the conservative powers-that-be in the committee, who hinted they had no plans to send the bill to a full vote by the Assembly. That’s good, for it’s a piece of legislation that can potentially do a lot of harm to several groups of workers, including those who are trans or gender non-conforming. Needless to say, the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce is against the Assembly bill (as well as a similar measure in the State Senate), comparing it to the controversial HB2 measure in North Carolina, which was one of the most anti-LGBT ordinances in the United States.
Okay, I’m about to get serious. I’ve always admired how Wisconsin has, generally, had a history of progressive treatment of citizens who are part of diverse groups. A prime example of this was the 1982 legislation that prohibited discrimination in fields such as housing and public and private employment based on a person’s sexual orientation. That law had bipartisan support and was signed into law by a Republican governor who was fiscally conservative yet progressive on social/cultural issues.