Allison M.

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


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Allison’s second… er, uh, third live performance

It’s Wednesday as I finish this post, and while I try to process my long weekend out of town and my return from work afterwards (a topic for a forthcoming post, I promise), let’s devote this post to the big weekend I had exactly one weekend previous — Saturday the 23rd of September, to be exact.  As you can tell from this post’s title, I did indeed perform poetry as Allison once again.  But was it my second performance or my third?  Well, I guess some clarification is in order:  The first time I performed in front of a mic was during a poetry event at Mother Fool’s back in early July.  A few weeks after that, on the last Saturday night of July to be exact, I was actually back at Mother Fool’s, though not to read poetry.  Instead, since it wasn’t exclusively a night of poetry, I did a little bit of freeform spoken word storytelling about how I first found that sack of women’s clothing.

Saturday the 23rd, however, was all about the poetry.  And instead of Mother Fool’s, we did our thing at another coffee house in town.  (I’ll get to the significance of the “we” later.)  The business in question is Cargo Coffee, a locally- and family-owned coffee shop that has two locations here in Madison, one on the south side and the one we performed at on East Washington Avenue, a few blocks northeast of the State Capitol.  Cargo Coffee’s East Wash location is part of a major redevelopment that’s been occurring on the avenue the past several years (well, it’s happening throughout Madison but it definitely applies to East Wash):  Older, smaller, and generally decrepit buildings, ones that housed businesses ranging from repair shops to an automobile dealership, have been replaced by more modern buildings and shops (including restaurants, a swank hotel, and a supermarket) and condominiums and luxury apartments that cost a pretty penny.  And the redevelopment isn’t done yet:  A new music venue is under construction just kitty corner from Cargo Coffee; further up the avenue, a separate redevelopment is turning a long-empty and neglected plot of land into a mix of apartments, shops, and a UW Health clinic.

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A poem: “Store-bought”

A little bit of self-admission, folks:  Not only have I been very busy this week at work (two words: mandatory overtime), I have a very busy weekend out of town ahead of me.  As a result, I haven’t had too much time to write a new blog post about my latest excursion behind the microphone at a poetry reading.  It’s not as if I haven’t tried writing, but let’s just say the combination of writing, photo editing, and, uh, “cat video watching” (more of the former than the latter) have led to an incomplete self-grade.  I do promise, however, that a formal recount of my performance will be forthcoming.

But, still, I want to show evidence that the cobwebs haven’t settled in to my little corner of WordPress.  And so, I will now post a new poem I have had percolating in the draft section that I had wanted to first get some personal one-on-one feedback.  But I’ll say to heck with that and just give it to you straight:

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Rewording how I define myself

While there have been two good things that occurred in my personal life this August (my high school class reunion, my marching in the pride parade), there was one situation that really bummed me out.  Now that I’m slowly putting it behind me, I will start my explanation of said situation by highlighting a change you may have noticed this month:  My Gravatar profile description.  You know, the one listed under my smiling face you see on the right of your compute screen.  (Uh, you are reading this on a computer screen, right?)  Here is how that profile previously read:

blog bio before

Take note of the first three sentences in that description:  “Full-time middle-aged male.  Long-time overworked office drone.  Part-time female fashion plate.”  A witty and rather innocuous way to describe myself… or so I thought.  The thoughts of those three sentences, or at least how a very important gatekeeper interpreted them, prevented me from taking part in the perfect venue to showcase my poetry skills (such as they are).

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Trying to get things perfect

When reading this blog, you may have noticed I’m a budding poetry writer (well, I consider myself budding), and that just a couple of weeks ago, I took the leap of presenting some of my poetry as Allison in front of an intimate live audience.  That night was a real confidence builder not only for presenting my female side but also my writing abilities.

I do, however, consider my current poetry writing abilities as being at a less-than-perfect point.  So far, with one or two exceptions, most of my poetry subjects have been about LGBT themes and trying to meet eye-to-eye with someone who’s not necessarily part of our community, meaning subject outside those realms can be hard for me to interpret into prose.  As well, I’m one who wants to write, rewrite, and re-rewrite poetry (and some other blog posts) over time, doing so until it feels to me to be as perfect as possible.

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The night Allison read poetry… out loud!

If you are a regular reader of this post, you’ve noticed that I’ve made periodic attempts at writing in a creative way.  One of those attempts has been the writing of my own poetry.  Now, I’m not the world’s most perfect poet (and I know it), but putting pen to prose… er, uh, actually more like putting fingers to keyboard to prose has stimulated my creative writing juices quite a bit.  Even if some of my rhymes fall flat, I still take pride in knowing that I took a creative risk.

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A coffee shop that isn’t Starbucks

Last Friday night (July 7), I took, for me, a really awesome risk:  Reading my original poetry in front of a live audience… and doing so in my feminine persona!  Here’s the deal:  I established an account with a certain social media service (which is a subject for a future post, I promise), and through it learned about an open mic poetry reading at Mother Fool’s, a little coffeehouse on Williamson Street on Madison’s near east side that’s been around since 1994 and serves breakfast, lunch, soups, bakery goods, coffee, conversation, wi-fi… and, yes, live entertainment.  (The above photo is from a post a couple of years ago about Willy Street as a whole.  Since that photo, Mother Fool’s suffered damage to its front entrance, thanks to a drunk driver turning the place into a drive-thru last August.  Mother Fool’s had to close for a while, but in due time the entrance was repaired and looking good as new.)

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A poem: “Freedoms”

Today is Independence Day here in the United States, the day commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by thirteen of Great Britain’s North American colonies, who would unite and form what is now the fifty United States of America.

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A poem: “I See You”

Today (March 31) is the International Transgender Day of Visibility, which is a day meant to celebrate those who identify as transgender and to help raise awareness of discrimination faced by trans people everywhere.  (It should not be conflated with the Transgender Day of Remembrance, which occurs in November and is more solemn.)

I won’t get too much into the ins and outs of TDoV in this post, though I do recommend you learn more about the day (here is a good starting point).  What I do want to do is dedicate a few lines of prose (and passing references of David Bowie and J. Geils Band) to this day and to trans people of all stripes, especially those who, by circumstance or choice, may not live out and proud.  While this prose may not be perfect, know that the words are meant to communicate my appreciation for you, whichever part of the spectrum you identify under.

“I See You”

I see you over there
Sitting all alone and scared
You’re not sure if you’re a boy or a girl
And it’s got your mother in a whirl

The world wants to put you down
And make you frown
They’re misguided for insisting that you’re one thing
When you know you’re not what they’re saying

They want you to wear one set of clothes
But it’s a set in which you’ll never grow
Because of that, they think you’re an abomination
But, really, you’re an amazing creation

I know, they want to put you down
To keep you from wiping off your frown
You know you’re one thing
When everyone says you’re another
But to me, you’re more than a sister or a brother

No, really, you’re beautiful
Just the way you are
So don’t be afraid
Shine your own kind of light
Fight their darkness with your personality bright

Oh, I’m sorry
You don’t want to come out?
You do want to be the person you are
But you don’t want to scream or shout?

It’s okay, I understand
I have my own four-walled Neverland
Where I can feel free
And be who I know I be
Which is whatever gender I can be

But you want to be quiet about it
And, really, that’s okay
For it’s good, even better
To be more than whatever gender

But I do wish you can be free
You deserve to be who you know you be
Free from prying eyes
Free from disdaining eyes

Wait…  Please, wait…
Yes, I see you
And I do accept you
For you being you

No, it doesn’t matter to me
What gender you may be
Male or female
Maybe both, maybe neither

Know, though, that I admire you
And I will stand by you and with you
And help protect you
And help keep the wolves at bay
No matter what the world may say
I’ll have your back until my last day

So go and be the real you
Do what you feel you can do
Whether you’re trans or non-binary
Or third gender or even spirit two

Fully displayed or in the closet
Know that you’re living honest

But if you’re not out now, don’t worry
For if the time comes when
You show the world who you are
There will be those who will call you friend

There will be those just like you
Or supportive and accepting of you
Who will have your back if you fall
And help you stand up and stand tall

I will be there with you
For today, I see you
And I love and respect you
Because no matter who you are
And no matter what others believe what you are
You are living your life… amazingly
Just by being… you


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A poem: “The Great Unknown”

Well, tomorrow (January 20), You Know Who will ascend to you know what.  Oh, don’t deny that you know who I’m referring to; we all know what’s been going down the past 2+ months and what will go down tomorrow.  It has been and will be an earth-shattering adjustment we’ll all have to deal with.

If there’s one word that’s been running through my mind the past couple of months, it’s “uncertainty.”  We know there will be damage done over the next 4 years; we just don’t know what kind of damage, nor do we know how much or how severe it will be.

I think it’s human nature for uncertainty to plague a person’s mind.  I think it’s also natural to give uncertainty a physical, or at least visual, representation.

“The Great Unknown”

I enjoyed these years of warmth
I loved being bathed in all this happiness
I wish I could enjoy it more
But I can’t

It’s not that I don’t want to stay out here
And enjoy more of this warmth
It’s just that I have to go inside
Where it’s very cold
And foreboding
And threatening
And… uh…

Honestly, I can’t see what’s in there
But I’ve heard of what does await me:
Disdain
Misogyny
Prejudice
Absolute hate
Hate towards me
Hate towards others like me
All because we’re not like them
The “them” that await inside

No, I can’t see what’s inside
But I know for sure what’s inside:
Darkness
Capital D “Darkness”
Darkness upon Darkness
Absolute, unadulterated Darkness
Darkness we can’t yet see with our eyes

I am afraid
I am truly afraid
Afraid of how this Darkness will hurt me
And how it will hurt others like me
For this Darkness is just waiting to attack us
And destroy us
Until it’s victorious
And sees nothing that “threatens” them

I know, I know
I must go into this Darkness
But I can’t go
At least not without you
You are just like me
Or at least supportive of me
As I am supportive of you
So take my hand
Please, take my hand
We can’t survive alone
In that dark, dark Great Unknown
But I know we’ll be stronger
And make it through much better
If we go in there united and together


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A poem: “Darkness”

Presented without any extra comment, a poem that sums up how I’ve been feeling this week.

“Darkness”

Oh, what a lovely day!
What a thrill to be outside today!
Walking down the street
Without a cloud in the sky
Friendly people passing by
Seemingly not a care in the world
As I let the freedom to be me unfurl

But… wait…

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