Allison M.

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


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Speak truth and look awesome

It’s Labor Day weekend, meaning it’s time to start considering autumnal-appropriate clothing.  Still, it’s always a good time to think about clothing normally well suited for the warmer months that (bummer) are about to leave us.

Earlier this year, I saw this photo on the New York & Company website.7th-avenue-black-floral-skirt-top

First off, this is not a dress.  No, really, the top and skirt, both of which come from NY & Co’s 7th Avenue line, match each other so perfectly.  The wrap skirt is pleated fully and sits banded at the waist with a self-tie belt.  The black background on both it and the top allows the floral patterns to really pop.

But if you pay attention, you’ll notice that emblazoned across the top is a message of certain import:  “Speak Truth.”  A great thing to think about at this time in our history, really.  Speak truth about the person who you are.  Speak truth about the world around you.  Speak truth about how the people around you should care for others and our planet.  Speak truth and show the world you’re not afraid to state your mind and take a stand for what you believe in.

Not to sound as if I”m bragging (I’m not), but I could see myself pairing these with sandy-colored hair and my best patent leather purse and run errands, do shopping, or just walk through the park on a beautiful and warm day (yes, such days will return).  And when doing so, I’ll be making a statement — in more ways than one.


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Random personal thoughts (8/18/2018 edition)

I have just enough time this Sunday morning to let you in on a couple of personal matters.  First off, I’ve put in a feeler on a potential new employment opportunity.  It’s through a different staffing agency than the one where I found my current assignment.  It’s also a temp-to-hire role.  But it also appears to be an indefinite, long-term role.  And it’s also in an industry where I spent a significant portion of my early professional life, meaning I need to move some of the industry’s terminology from the back to the front of my memory if I get this role.

But at the very least, if nothing pans out there or anyplace else, I do have my current assignment to fall back on.  As much as I’m not happy there and have struggled sometimes, the managers I work under seem to be pleased with my work.  Well, at least pleased enough to indicate they’d like to keep me on past September 1 and work some special projects.  While that’s nice, and I’m grateful, I’m not sure if it will be a full-time role.  And let’s just say that it’s not easy having just part-time employment while living in a city as expensive as Madison.

This afternoon, at least, I get to put all those work worries aside and get dressed up.  And for good reason, as today is Madison’s LGBT+ celebration, OutReach Magic Festival.  As I noted back in the spring, city regulations, logistics, and lingering resentment from last year prompted event organizers to eschew from having a parade downtown up State Street, and instead have a picnic/festival event at Warner Park on the northeast side of town.  The setup is meant to help bring the various groups within the pride acronym together, something our community needs right now and will hopefully benefit from.  The bad news, however, is that somebody has been praying for rain.  As I write this, there’s a loud storm moving through town, and a chance of rain exists late during the event.  Ugh!

Hopefully, everyone will stay dry at Magic Festival.  Myself especially, as I will be lugging around a fancy camera while dodging raindrops.  See, yours truly will be volunteering as Allison at the event.  Little Ol’ Do-Gooder Me wanted to help out in any way.  Despite my signing up relatively late (I did so after a volunteer orientation), spots were still available, and I added my femme name to the list as an event photographer.  I’m planning to arrive early enough to not only drink in the event and get a lay of the land, but also to get the ground rules on photographing the event, one of which I’ve learned about already — get consent before taking someone’s picture.  It will be a great thrill to not only lend a hand to what will hopefully be a great event, but to also help document it for posterity.


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One month after that

While tumbling through the internet rabbit hole to write up my last post, I came across this photograph:

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The photo, rainbow border and all, was posted on the Student Life section of New York University’s website.  The photo was taken by the late Fred McDarrah, who was a writer and also a longtime photographer for The Village Voice.  Among his many assignments was the photographing of the Stonewall Riots, their immediate aftermath, and many LGBT-related marches and celebrations after that.

The date of this particular photo is significant:  Sunday, July 27, 1969.  Yes, 50 years ago yesterday.  Many people may think that all there was of the Stonewall uprising was what happened in June of 1969, followed by a quiet period and the first organized pride march one year later in 1970.  Even worse, many think that the LGBT+ rights movement was only the product of later (i.e. much more recent) generations.

But that line of thinking is incorrect, really.  There was a more quieter LGBT movement before Stonewall.  It’s just that those hot nights in late June 50 years ago were the propellant that took the movement further.  And sure enough, Stonewall led to other protests and rallies in New York immediately afterward, including one exactly one month after the riots, in which a “Gay Power” march culminated in a rally at Washington Square Park.

Admittedly, I don’t know every single detail about the LGBT+ movement.  I’m sure a great many not just outside but also within our community will say the same thing.  But it’s a great feeling to learn about a small moment or a minor contributor that would help ensure the freedoms we enjoy and inspire the open lives we live today.

Here’s hoping you experience that same “gee whiz” feeling when you peruse though our community’s vast and proud history.


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Very perceptive

I wanted to share in this quick post realization that dawned upon me late today at work.  As I mentioned in this post from early last week, management at the organization to which I’m currently assigned has set forth on a departmental realignment.  This is affecting me in a big way, in that I’m in the process of shedding a couple of important duties, including one that… well, let’s just say it affects our organization in a significant way.

As a natural part of this reorganization, I’m in the process of training the person who will take responsibility for the duties I’m shedding.  We’re right now in the early stages of training, and naturally, this person has been asking lots of questions, including those I’m stumped on and don’t know the answer.

To be clear, asking questions, be they few or many or large or small, is a very good sign for any new employee.  It means that they’re trying to absorb the ins and outs of the role, as well as the whys and what fors.

But with those questions, they’re also finding out something else:  What kind of situation are they getting themselves into?  This was made to clear to me when, late in the day today, I sat down with the person I’m training after I had caught myself up on a couple of e-mails.  She had a talk with our manager concerning a report I’ve been trying to catch myself up on and that she started helping out on.  And it’s a big report, too, both in size and in importance.  How important, you ask?  Let’s just say it’s a rundown of some of the stuff I’ve missed doing because I’ve been caring for my other tasks.

When I rejoined my new colleague, she made a very astute observation to me:  I’ve been in over my head.  Oh, and I landed in a rather bad situation when I joined this organization 9 months ago.

And you know what?  She was absolutely right in her observation.  In my time there, I’ve been trying to put out one fire after another.  And in the past couple of months, circumstances beyond my control let that fire grow into a five-alarm inferno.

But the good news is that she seems to understand the situation.  And while she admits she may not be able to solve every problem that’s resulted from all this missed work, she will try her darndest to care for it.

But this afternoon, at least, she revealed a very important trait that every good employee should have:  The trait of being very, very perceptive.


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Good (to be away from work) Friday

The day I write this is Good Friday.  I won’t get into the religious aspects of this day in this space, but I will say that one good thing for me about this particular Good Friday is that I have the day off from my work assignment.  The office I’m working at is closed all day and everyone is enjoying the three-day weekend.  And after the past three weeks, a three-day weekend is coming at the right time.  Thanks to an abrupt staffing change, manpower has been short-handed (again), meaning a lot has been plopped both on my plate and that of my colleague.  That we both work under a demanding manager who has a stern, unpleasant demeanor and wants immediate results, or as timely results as possible, doesn’t make things any more enjoyable.

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A vital voice

I want you, the fair readers of this blog, to take a look at this outfit:

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Saturday morning, I made a quick trip to Target.  No, if you’re inquiring, I wasn’t there to add new purchases to my closet, nor did I bring any new clothes home.  However, while walking past the women’s clothing section, I saw this mannequin with a nice pleated skirt and a simple pink top with… well, just read what it says.

Saturday was also a troubling day in the national news.  If you haven’t heard, You Know Who got his man on the highest court in our country.  Ugh.  And it comes after a nomination period that saw said man be accused of gross misconduct in his younger days, including not one, nor two, but three women coming forward to claim he sexually abused them when they were all younger.  More disgusting was the fact that said man vociferously deny those claims, which only exacerbated his bad character and made him look more guilty than he likely already was.

And yet, a group of mostly old, misogynistic men saw fit to put him on the highest court in our country.

Now, I know it’s impossible for our side to win every battle.  But when a battle this important and this hard fought finds our side on the losing end, it’s hard not to feel disappointed.  But through the disappointment, I saw the message on this outfit at Target and thought… yeah, I needed that message on Saturday.

Matter of fact, that was a message everyone needed on Saturday.  And today.  And every day during these dark times.

With those with evil in their hearts and dark motives on their minds threatening our community’s hard-fought freedoms, or at least just waiting do us harm, we should be a “vital voice…”

Yes, it’s good to be that “vital voice” for what’s right (not for the right side, if you know what I mean).

It’s best to be that “vital voice” to stand up for those who go without.  It’s necessary to be that “vital voice” to stand and defend for those in our LGBT+ community who feel threatened for living as who they are, and should not be discriminated because of who they are.

It’s important, now more so than ever, to be a “vital voice” who can stand up to the bullies in our country and the men (well, they are almost all men) who are making all of us live in fear only because they’re living in fear of women who aren’t afraid to stand strong.

I cannot profess to being all that articulate in voicing support for the downcast and others like me in our community.  Indeed, there are those much, much better than I’ll ever be in being that “vital voice.”  But at least I can use this platform, small and unpolished as it may be, to highlight those who think positive and stay strong and never yield or give ground to the hateful.

Even if our voices are small, let’s all speak up together… for when we do, we will be come the VITAL VOICE (note the all caps) that is so very necessary at this time.

(Oh, the outfit? The shirt especially? A certain friend of mine is really big on social justice and standing up for the disadvantaged. I imagine she may want to buy that shirt the next time she’s at Target. Walk the talk, friend. *grin*)


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Blah!

Okay, a real quick post for all y’all about how I’m doing.  First off, it’s all good.  I’m busy at work, and during one of the busiest times in our department.  And I’m in the midst of a five-week, one-hour-per-week volunteer commitment, which I’ll pick up again tomorrow afternoon.

However (and you were sensing a “but” coming on, weren’t you?), all isn’t fun because… well, for the 2nd time in a month, I’m fighting off a rough cold (hence the title of this post).  Last month, a day after attending the OutReach Awards Banquet and while taking part in my trans group’s support meeting, I suddenly got a nasty sore throat.  Later that evening back home, I started getting the aches and stuffiness, which led to a not-so-restful sleep that night, what with waking up every couple of hours with aches and stuffiness.  It was so bad that I scrubbed my usual Sunday morning plans to head to the gym, rather just taking a mid-morning catnap.

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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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Busy, busy, busy

Just enough time this morning for me to say… wowzers!  This September has certainly been a busy one for me so far!  As previously noted, I had a busy Labor Day weekend (ironic, isn’t it?), with not only a visit with relatives but a unexpected fire alarm.  Then last week, I was feted for my 15-year work anniversary at my place of employment.

But that’s not the end of it, not by any means.  I’ve already attended a couple of support group meetings this month, the most recent of which saw us send off one of our group with well wishes (she’s moving to California).  Then, Male Mode Me will have big volunteer opportunities coming up not only later this morning but also late next week.  And on top of all that, my little sister is getting married at the very end of this month, meaning there’s another out-of-town trip awaiting me (I’ve already got the hotel room booked).

While all that is well and great (especially the support meetings), two really big things for my female side have been on my September schedule, one already occurred and one still awaiting me.  I don’t know about the results of either event, meaning I must go into detail on them later.  But I will describe them briefly here:  This coming Saturday, I’m set to go to another poetry reading.  It’s won’t be at Mother Fool’s, where I performed poetry as Allison for the first time, but rather at another coffee house I scoped out in male mode during the summer.  That means this week, in addition to working for a living, I’ll be busy writing new poetry and/or deciding which of my previous works of poetry I should present to the audience.  What’s more, I’m looking forward to seeing at least one familiar face in that crowd (they know who they are *grin*).

Perhaps more exciting than being behind a mic and in front of an audience, this past Sunday I had the privilege to be in front of the camera… with a real, true professional photographer behind it!  Very late last week, I learned of a LGBTQ-oriented photo shoot event, and I knew I just had to take part, even if it meant skipping a necessary Sunday trip to the gym.  So, I got all dolled up, went over to the east side of town, and joined several other folks from Madison’s LGBT+ community in getting our picture taken.  I don’t know how my pictures turned out, as it will take a few weeks for the photographer to sort out everything.  But it’s safe to say that I am anticipating seeing the results.  When I do, I will further go into detail about my day on this blog.

So, yeah, it’s definitely been and will still be a busy September for me.  Speaking of which, I gotta get going and head off to work.  Speaking of work, I’ve been putting in some required overtime.  Yeah, I’ve been one busy girl.


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One very busy birthday girl

As you can tell from the starry pink banner and this post’s title, today (August 3) is my 48th birthday.  As has been the case in most of my adulthood, this day will be your normal everyday kind of day:  Work, work, work.  Maybe a card or a text from family (I already received one from Mom earlier this week).  Already a few birthday wishes added to my URNotAlone profile’s guestbook (a big “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” banner is added to members’ profiles when it’s their birthday).  And perhaps a little bit of relaxation when I finally get home.

I say “when I finally get home” as I’ve been a rather busy girl of late, especially with putting my nose to the proverbial grindstone at work.  And I’ll be pretty busy the rest of this month as well.  Here in Madison, a small, trans-oriented art and performance exhibition is scheduled for the last weekend of this month.  I’ve become so enamored of late by presenting my poetry and storytelling before live audiences (and doing so as Allison), which propelled me to submit my poems for consideration to this event.  If they approve, I’ll get all dolled up and step up to the microphone before my fellow trans sisters and brothers for the first time (hope it won’t be a tough crowd).

A weekend before that, Madison will have its annual LGBT pride event.  And the trans support group I’ve been attending will have an entry in the parade.  All of our “T’s” and “I’s” need to be crossed and dotted yet, but I can’t wait for Madison to see us.  What’s more, I’m hoping to march with my group as Allison for the very first time.  I’m so excited.

And this very weekend will be the 30-year reunion of my high school graduating class.  Am I nervous about it?  A little bit, as I wonder how much time, adulthood, and our current society have changed my fellow Class of 1987 graduates.  The reunion came, for me at least, on rather short notice, so I’m not sure how many of my class will be able to attend.  Still, I’m actually looking forward to the event… even though I’ve never been the party girl-type, nor did I socialize very much in high school.  Plus, it’ll be interesting to see how much our home town, a rather small Northern Wisconsin hamlet, has changed (for better and for worse) in the 5 years since our previous reunion.

So, yeah, not a lot of time for me to celebrate turning 48.  But as I noted above, I’ve gotten used to the 3rd day of August feeling like any of the other 364 days of the year, and that’s okay.  But know that if you wish me a happy birthday, I’ll send gratitude and thanks your way.  Hope you have your own very nice day.