I have plenty of sad stories to share—break-ups, awkward silences and evil stares, but I thought I would much rather share some positives in my first introduction article. My femme name is Brina MacTavish. The image of a fiery redheaded Scottish lass—think Merida from Brave—should come to mind. Not for lack of trying, but red isn’t my color, and I can’t pull off the tight green bosomed dress either.

Like many of you, I’ve gone through minor and major metamorphoses throughout my lifetime. Always trying to figure out that inner woman, who slapped me silly too many times to count, as I motored down the rollercoaster highway of this amazing, fearful, and accepting journey to who I am. It’s taken me nearly forty years to say this phrase, “This is who I am.”

Brina has always been inside of me, but it wasn’t until I let her completely out that I found out how much she mattered, and how much I needed her in my life. She’s made little appearances throughout my life, the time I had on my sister’s dress and my mother’s shoes when I was twelve, and my sister came home early. I did what anyone in my situation would have done, dove over my sister’s headboard and cowered in the corner for nearly two hours before she went to the bathroom and I could escape. I did learn some interesting things to use against her later, as I eavesdropped on her phone conversation with her boyfriend. Later, I had to sweat it out getting her dress back into her closet without her seeing it was missing—another anxious heart beating bit of skullduggery adventure.

Until you’ve lived it, I don’t believe there is a more stressful life than being a closeted crossdresser or a questioning transgendered afraid of others learning the big secret. It’s petrifying to be constantly worrying about being ousted before we are ready to be, or to have someone find your well-worn pair of high heels. I’m still not out—not in public. For a brief time, I did belong to a local group and made it to a couple of functions. I’m also an introvert, which doesn’t help. I don’t own a purse, but I will someday. My daughters know that I have tendencies; I’ve shared some, but nothing since the divorce ten years ago. The fear of losing them and my grandkids is probably more mental than reality, but…

I’m now at the point where I’ve let Brina back out and given her some much needed space, literally and figuratively. She made her first appearance shortly after the divorce, and like most failed marriages, you doubt your worthiness so you try again, only to fail once more, because secrets eat you alive, and the person inside refuses to stay quiet. I was 44 before I shaved my legs for the first time. It’s amazing how good nylons feel and look when you only wear one pair and not five or six to try to cover up the hair. Still, I’m only willing to shave during the cold winter months–I need to become a triathlete so I can get by shaving all year long, (wouldn’t that be heaven!) The great thing about getting older—my beard is turning greyer, (along with my hair), I’m getting a decent set of man boobs, (to manipulate into decent cleavage), and the hair on my legs is fading. The downside; losing weight and dealing with excess body hair and gravity makes the reflection in the mirror grimace on occasion.

Brina came out for a trial run after the divorce. I suppressed her, purged hundreds of dollars in clothes, wigs shoes, (nearly killed me to give them away), accessories, and makeup to try at another relationship, which I promised myself that I would tell before it got serious. It did, and I didn’t. We haven’t been together for nearly four years, I still miss her, but the breakup wasn’t because of Brina. It was for a host of other reasons. She was still a privately known reason, because keeping her secret and suppressed ate at me and made me less honest than I should have been. After seven years, I missed Brina and the calming effect she had on my life. You can’t live your life in fractions, whole is the only way.

Now, we build and live a unified life with less fear, more peace, and so many wonderful pairs of shoes.

Talk again soon,

Brina MacTavish

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Sabrina (Brina) MacTavish

Brina is from Iowa, and she is steadily learning how to merge her two halves into one whole. Still closeted after 40 years, she hopes to one-day walk freely and confidently in the open. She spends most of her time working as a self-published novelist under both personas.

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Stephanie Cross
Active Member
Stephanie Cross (@stanley)
2 years ago

Hi Brina. Thank you for sharing your story. I know how it is to keep the secret for so long.There are women and wives out there who accept the other woman that hides in side us .I was married over 30 years before my wife was let in on the secret. This happened because she found my “other clothes”. The biggest part for her to get over was the hurt of deception and not knowing about the secret. She’s doing better with that part. However we’re doing great and she is a strong supporter. Sharing my secret with my wife… Read more »

Gretta Harlow
Gretta Harlow (@grettah)
2 years ago

Great idea for awhile I had my clothes in a separate closet but then was too scared that someone would poke their head into my closet

Rubi Shearer
2 years ago

well, i have a life story. I can remember as a pre school child wearing my sisters nickers as i wanted to wear female clothing. This increased to my teenage years to wearing also my mothers clothing and loved the shaping underwear. I was always small and fine build and my mother often said that i should of been a girl. Not sure if she new something or was just my persona. As i grew only it came in fads and then went. My first marriage gave me the opportunity to dress in some of her clothing when i was… Read more »

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