My Reflection

Those of you who have read my previous articles already know my story. I’m somewhere between being transgendered and a full-fledged CD. I’m at the point where I don’t separate my two-selves anymore. They’re always both present, whatever I may be wearing. It can be both problematic and humorous. My current options don’t allow me much freedom to dress during the Spring-Fall, thus, no shaved arms or legs, and my perfume use is minimal as is the opportunity to fully be Brina. I’ve adapted and no longer have to ride out the months until winter comes and Brina takes control. It’s because we’ve become one, each giving at times to the other. There are times, however, where I sometimes wish (okay…really want) to be more open and year-round. I’m an introvert by nature, so that’s already one strike. I’m also 6 foot and carrying more weight recently (though I’m going to really work on that this off Brina season), and I love high heels which makes blending in more difficult unless I concede and wear flats.

I’m not going to share the why, but I’m packing up Brina’s things, removing them from a place of prominence to be relegated to boxes and hidden in my dresser drawers amongst the male clothes. At least they are within reach and close by. Some winter items and the extra shoes (if there is such a thing) get put into my storage shed until next December. The big point here is that I adapt to survive and keep moving forward. This would all be easy to do if the “cat was out of the bag.” Not yet, but soon. I still take my current responsibilities seriously and I’m not yet ready to face the music. If it were to happen, then I will wade through it together with Brina. She’s not going anywhere and “Baby’s not going to be put in the corner.”

Ok…back to the topic: My Reflection. Who do you see when you look in the mirror, both dressed and in your male persona? This is an interesting question for me. Is being a CD like being in love; are we in some ways blind to the imperfections? I admit upfront that I don’t like looking at my male self and only do it to shave and brush my hair, maybe check my teeth and lips to make sure the lip-gloss hasn’t left any lingering traces. It’s much easier to look at Brina’s reflection and see more of the positives rather than the negatives, though she’s always pointing out the hair in the ears and the eyebrows that are becoming more difficult to shape as “old man syndrome” is setting in. Tweezers are my best friend…

Makeup Magic

I look at my legs and see the girly legs I’ve always had, the “man boobs” that I wish would grow a few sizes (but am happy that I have enough to make respectable cleavage), and the eyes that mostly convey tolerance, hope, and understanding versus the way they used to reflect shame, depression, and guilt. I have a computer full of Brina selfies, and none of my male persona. I study those pictures of Brina to see where I need improvement (everywhere!!!) and what I’ve done right (thank God for those legs). I’ve also started to compare Brina to other women I see and I’ve learned that I’m attracted to the type of women who share some of my characteristics…so does that make me a lesbian now? I like women who wear makeup well (office sultry) and aren’t afraid of dressing nice (with a hint of sexuality). I also love women who can accessorize with jewelry and rock a pair of heels. I’m also becoming more attracted to others like me that can pull off femininity…does that make me a mensbian or maybe a transbian? New labels to add to the growing list.

There is a vast collection of pictures posted on our site and across the internet. They range from fetish to those who have transitioned. I’m always amazed when I see the before and after pictures because it gives me hope should I ever walk that path…not saying I will or won’t. It depends on the day of course… and money…lots of it…. It brings me to my final thought. We need to be inclusive and non-judgmental. I’ve walked in some of the other’s shoes, but not all of them. I try to be helpful where I can, offering advice and friendship, which is really hard for an introvert…trust me. You won’t find me in the chat rooms—not my thing. For some, being a crossdresser is playing a part or being able to separate two individual personalities, for others, like me, this is just who we are…or are becoming. My daily desire when I face the reflection is to be more kind—kind to myself and kind to others. It’s the one thing that doesn’t cost money and makes a world of difference.

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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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  1. Lara Cross 5 months ago

    Brina: Your message (and your style) seems to have started a revolution of honesty. As Lara I still feel suppressed and alone. It helps me to read posts like yours and your many followers. Bless you all and realize your steps (though not in the high heels we both dream to wear) are moving all us a little further toward accepting our selves in a society eager to apply its labels.

  2. Wendy Beach 5 months ago

    Brina,
    You said it so well. I too am introverted but I learned one thing about people’s perceptions years ago when I did 2 weeks with a Eurail Pass while on leave from Iraq. Rick Steves (Europe through the Backdoor) said that when traveling alone no one knows who you really are. You can take on the role of extrovert and become more engaging to strangers (never being ” the Ugly American”. The seasonal thing was particularly meaningful. I am not transitioning and am very much in the closet. My girl friend is very supportive. Just this evening we went to discount clothing outlet where the prices are so low I can take the clothes home and bring them back if I have to. I live in the Inland Empire of SOCAL where the temperatures get quite high. I shaved my legs for the first time ever but I had to wait into November and then stop shaving in late January to give my legs time to get back to the usual because we can get some hot March days. Fortunately I don’t have a lot of body hair. My legs are my best feature. I feel like a vampire. Wendy so far comes out only at night with the shades drawn. Would love to pierce my ears. Unfortunately my 41 yr old daughter would not understand and she is the gate keeper to my 3 wonderful grandchildren. As a senior citizen, I think make up is easier because it’s impossible to hide those wrinkles and I only need to go so far. I just reflect on the charming old lady in the mirror. Have yet to take my act outside the house other than a few furtive visits to the car in early morning hours. Am I naïve to think that I won’t get scrutinized as much as a much younger woman? Brina, you are inspirational and beautiful!

    • Author

      Wendy,
      You are sweet. Thank you for the compliment and for sharing. I know those feelings well, as I imagine many of us do. I like the way you put it about piercing your ears and your daughter being the “Gatekeeper.” I have those similar feelings. It’s not that we are worried about our children as much as we are our grandkids. When they are of age to make their own decisions will I be so old that I won’t care….

      I hate all the hair, especially in summer when I wish it was gone. For the last 4 years, I’ve kept my torso shaved. I went canoeing with my father and took off my shirt (mostly to rid myself of that awful farmers tan) and he didn’t even bat an eye. He isn’t my daughters, who have the eye of an eagle and the instincts of Sherlock. Someone else told me that maybe I want to be caught. They are mostly right. I’m willing to accept being caught, not so much ready to be caught.

      Be kind always,

      Brina

  3. Sahi saheli 5 months ago

    I love Bernie’s reflections I felt excited to read about her boobs ,she is our my to have cleavage and a rarity ,I too have a body totally shaved wearing fitting bra a tight ones to give me confidence of CD,I do date with a boy who likes my famine side and enjoys spending a lot of time with me exploring lady body.
    Thanks

  4. Sahi saheli 5 months ago

    Bernie you are honest in your narration and love that you have famine body with attractive boobs with cleavage which feel great I do crossdress secretly enjoy with my brasserie and panties luckily I have boyfriend who treats me like girl and do date frequently and assures his friends hip.

  5. Cdlovesgood Lopez 5 months ago

    Hello hun your very beautiful dressed up if you were closer I’d ask if I can buy you dinner go on a date. Your a Queen Brina a beauty form heaven God blessed you with good looks and very nice body and sexy legs ummm

  6. Brina, We have talked a little before but you are so so much like me or I am so so much like you. I am not as introverted but almost every other aspect is the same. I am lucky I have started to come out of my shell because my wife has found out now. That is a long other story but it is so great to hear someone say exactly what I want to say. Thank you so much for this article it makes me feel so much more at ease with myself, knowing I am not that odd. (It maybe the mid west too, I was raised in Nebraska and live in Missouri. : ) )
    Sara Marie

    • Author

      Sara Marie,

      Thanks for your insights and responding. You might not realize I’m introverted if you see me out and about. I’m a good public speaker and president of my service club for the last 3 years. My occupations have always put me in front of people, but once home, I’m done. Knowing this about myself is why I do some of the things I do, because otherwise, I’d never venture out. I also know, that when I do as Brina, it will be the start of something I won’t be able to stop. I’ve been out before and attended a Tri Ess group several miles away. There aren’t close options for me, though, I doubt I’d be recognized, but it only takes once.

      I’m not sure what I am, but I now know who I am. I don’t try to be one or the other. Some days, I’m grateful to be male and other days I want to see real breasts filling my bra and have my ears pierced and to never have to use a razor on my entire body ever again…. If I’d had this technology and information available when I was 20, I would have made other choices for how my life would have evolved. It’s never too late, but everything comes with a cost and there are some price tags that are too expensive.

      I appreciate your thoughts and comments 🙂

      Thanks,
      Brina

      • This is so strange I would say exactly what you said in your last paragraph. I will never be Sara full time in my future but I am Sara everyday since i feel i am and always have been Sara. I am very happy to have a guiding star as yourself though we may never meet you will always be an inspiration to and for me. Thank you again.
        Sara

  7. tina Smith 5 months ago

    Lovely article Brina,
    Fortunately I am able to live as Tina at night…but only at night. I only do make-up on
    fri and sat. It’s easier that way. I haven’t come out to my family or friends as well. But I am happy to be me.When I get “pretty” as I call it I feel fullfilled…complete…and of course beautiful. Wishing you only the best in journey as we become one with ourselves.
    Tina

  8. Kathryn Stewart 5 months ago

    Hello Brina from across the miles, I guess, in Georgia. It’s late and I need to go to bed. I do so with excitement because in my 72 years, I’ve never had a bad a conversation with another CD. Hope I can sleep. Will get back to yo soon.

  9. Kristinaaz Redding 5 months ago

    Completely understand what you live through. I too can only be me at home or under my clothes at work. I have cute lingerie to wear around the house and I do love putting on a lace thong, bra or cami and stockings and heading off to work in my drabs except for a tight pair of women’s jeans. My wife calls them my Fundies. I tossed all my drab undies and men’s Jeans. I am hoping some day to be fully Kristina. Living as I am. I take what I can. Thank you for sharing.

  10. Marianne 5 months ago

    Brina, I love your articles and the honest way you share from your life. I am also at a stage where Marianne is always present to some extent and I am constantly giving her more room to express herself in my daily life. My face is mostly plucked or at least clean shaven, as are my armpits. My eyebrows are thin feminine archs and my nails usually extend 1/8-1/4 of an inch from my finger tips. For me, thankfully, summertime is when I can really let her flourish in cute skirts and airy dresses, and I no longer care about what my fellow commuters may think as I am freely sporting my latest catch on the morning bus to work. The biggest downside is that I can’t seem to get my wife to support me. She accepts my need to dress but doesn’t want to have anything to do with it. I would love to go further but am very happy to have come this far.

    Marianne

  11. Jen 6 months ago

    Thank you that was wonderful

  12. Leonara 6 months ago

    Brina,
    I love your articles .. you are very strong that you, by choice or necessity must take a break from Brina – spring to fall…. my needs for feminity could not tolerate that long abstinence. We are our worse critics . I was surprised at your comment that “I study those pictures of Brina to see where I need improvement (everywhere!!!) “ I always admired ( and a little envious) your photos of you as an elegant lady. I will miss your lovely smile…until the fall be well … we will miss you…

    • Author

      Thanks, Leonara.
      Brina doesn’t completely go away, she downsizes during the summertime. While I don’t get the opportunity to be fully dressed, I still make sure that I’m giving Brina time, even if that means 4 am. Many mornings I sit and drink my coffee semi dressed and accessorized. I have a wonderful pair of silver hoop earrings and I love wearing my lip gloss as I drink my coffee. Sometimes, I get the chance to dress fully, but I rarely do makeup. It’s amazing what wearing a bra under your favorite tee shirt can do to lift your spirits 😉

      I thank you kindly for the compliments, a girl does her best…

      Brina

  13. Charlene Victoria 6 months ago

    Thank you Brina for sharing so eloquently that which I myself and I would suspect what many of us desire to achieve; Balance and acceptance.
    Transition seems so far from our reach and yet would we give up our femme self? And so we grow doing our best to blend both of our real selves into persons who can be a blessing and benefit to others.
    Blessings,
    Charlene

    • Author

      Thanks Charlene!

      I think you hit the point squarely. This lifestyle can consume us, compel us, and complete us if we accept one basic thing. It’s ok 🙂 It took me 40 plus years to manage that simple acknowledgement. Once I did, then it became easier to find a more balanced life, one where I allow all of me to have a say as to the person I most want to be. Is my balance perfect…not by a mile, but I don’t stress or hate myself the way I used to. Today, I make my life more about being kind to myself as well as others and to doing what I’m comfortable in showing more consistent femininity in my overall appearance. Little steps…

      Thanks for your comment!
      Brina

  14. Ashley Elizabeth 6 months ago

    You have written my own life so eloquently. Your words mirror my own life and thoughts.

    Ashley

    • Author

      Ashley,

      I would assume that most all of us have felt or struggle with accepting that this is where we are or are headed. I wouldn’t have said this 30 years ago, but hindsight has shown me, personally, that I’ve always been walking down this path. There were times when I left the path and times where I skipped and strutted along for awhile. Now I walk comfortably along and take more time to enjoy the journey.

      Thanks for your comment, Ashley!

      Brina

  15. Erica Cartman 6 months ago

    Brina, your article is very moving for me…we share many of the same thoughts..I hope “Brina” comes to stay, I hate to every see her go, even for a short while. I for one think you are so lovely, that is what you should see in your reflection too.

    • Author

      Erica,

      Brina never goes away these days. I just pack up the extra items that I don’t have a space for and that can’t just be out in plain sight as it is during the winter. I’ve said it many times, if I could only move to another city and start living my life as twins 🙂 Oh what heaven it would be for Brina to have a room she doesn’t have to share….

      Brina

      • Erica Cartman 6 months ago

        Brina, How I hope you do someday…I wish you the best always!

  16. Charee' or Char (Shar) 6 months ago

    I wish you grand white wings of courage and strength to carry you as high as you desire to fly in the depths of your soul my friend…
    Namaste’
    n huggles
    Char

    • Author

      Char,

      Thank you! Peace and tranquility for the soul and body, unity of heart, and a smile of happiness. (of course with my favorite pink lip gloss…)

      Brina

  17. Karlieka 6 months ago

    Hi. Your storry is talking to my heart. How you feel is exactly how I feel most days. I have to say that I am a crossdresser but more gender fluid than trans. I’m 28 years old and happily maried but with society and family I’m just not up for comming out yet. If I get caught then so be it. I also like to see Karlieka in my reflection. She shows me all my male imperfections but I only see her perfec reflection each time.

    Thank you for this story xoxo

    • Author

      Karlieka,

      Funny how the mirror can show us what we need to see as much as what we desire to see. I once read an article about looking into the mirror at ourselves and saying positive things to the reflection. I found some useful points, but I wanted to write back to the author and ask them how it pertained to being transgendered or a crossdresser. My life and how I have lived it belong to me alone. In honesty, if I’d been outed long, long ago, would I be happier today. I was by my ex in the first year, but she forced me to be less honest and to hide and feel shame at my femininity. Even a small amount of tolerance would have shaped me differently. The only option at this point is to move forward and find the balance acceptable and adaptable to the rest of my life. Unless, there is a leprechaun at the end of the rainbow with a wish when I catch him…I still chase the end of the rainbow 🙂

      Brina

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