Girl in the mirror 2

If you are like me, then you have kept a secret for too many years to contemplate. My biggest fear is that I might die in a car crash or have a heart attack, but hopefully not before I’ve either told my children and special friends about the inner me that cries to get out, or before I could eradicate all evidence of her as they fill me with embalming fluid. What if that day didn’t happen and my children instead discover the secret after my passing. I’m not sure which is a scarier thought…telling them…or having them find the truth without anyone to explain the why correctly. Many people write letters to keep with their wills and important papers to convey a last wish, or correct a wrong. This is my letter, and only the first one. My hope would be to have that day where I speak with them and the tone of future letters continually change for the better.

And so….

If you are reading this, I’m already gone. You can bet I didn’t go easily, my last thoughts filled with all the fear, panic, and conflict that I’ve lived with my entire life. For better or worse, the great secret is no more. I will assume you two have found the suitcases and boxes full of women’s clothes and high heels, too numerous to count. The makeup, the breast forms, the collection of wigs, all the nightgowns, nylons and panties mixed within the drawers of my male clothes, and a few items I wish weren’t there and that I’d gotten rid of. I’ve always accepted that I would die; I always believed that I would someday tell you about who I really am, and I always held back so that you would be happier in your life and not forced to deal with the complexities of mine.

Crossdresser Superstore

You once asked me why I didn’t post selfies of myself or like having my picture taken. I hate looking at photographs or in the mirror at myself, because they don’t reflect the person I feel on the inside. If you someday crack the password on my computer, you’ll see 1000’s of pictures of just me, some beautiful, some sad, and some…you know. Don’t mock the miss-matched clothes, or poor makeup application, the male attributes too hard to hide, but instead notice the genuine smile and light in her eyes. This is as close to the true reflection of the person I feel inside and the one that hides from the mirror. Try to imagine that you wake up one day and unexpectedly have gained a hundred pounds overnight. What would you see in the mirror’s reflection? How would you feel looking at yourself?

Am I male, am I female, am I gay, sick, perverted, confused, mentally challenged, transgendered, a transvestite, a crossdresser, queer, a freak, and am I sorry for who I am; yes to all of it and more importantly—to none of it. The older I’ve gotten, the less I like labels. Two things matter to me; was I a good parent and have I been a kind person. I strove to be both of those things. You’ll never understand how much it pains me, but I know that from now on you are going to love and hate me, sometimes at the same time. I pray the love will carry you forward. I can’t tell you what I am, because I honestly don’t know. If I had the chance to go back and spend my life as a woman—I’d do it if nothing else would change. There is no way that I could ever give up the most important things in my life—you two. If I’d had all the money needed to change my current sex, would I do it? I can’t answer; and there lies the unanswered question of my life. I feel as if I’m probably 65-80% female, given the day and situation. If you were true with yourself, you might answer it similarly. I sincerely believe that our DNA carries both traits. Some show on the outside and some on the inside. Trying to pigeonhole anyone with an all-inclusive term is an example of labeling that doesn’t fit, never has, but is what others are willing to fight about and what some need to cling to. Why is it that one trait is deemed male and another one considered female? It really comes down to one item, or the lack of said item. Everything else is cosmetic, debatable, and changeable …even said item.

I’ve been fighting my insides and outsides for as long as I can remember. Seven years old and wearing dresses with my cousins as we played around in grandma’s stored away clothes. Everyone clapping and thinking we were cute as we paraded around. I snuck into my sister’s closet to wear her skirts and shoes, even daring a few times to put on her bra, and later wearing my first pair of pilfered pantyhose. There was the wig that I bought at a thrift shop, wore once and then threw it away as I cried in shame. The many pairs of high heels that were purchased, hidden from all of you, worn in secret, and then thrown away, only to be replaced by another pair as the need verses the shame battled continuously at my psyche. From the acceptance of who I might actually be after the divorce was final, to having the solitude to learn about my true self, to then suppressing her as I became scared of what I was becoming, to going through another failed relationship, in which she remained hidden, to once again letting her reemerge and become an integral and calming influence in my life, I’ve lived in a perpetual state of duress and confliction, need and fear, shame and longing.


 Thankfully, we live in a world that is changing, one filled with more acceptance, more understanding, and more tolerance. I don’t want your forgiveness; that insinuates a wrongdoing. I am not wrong for trying to be me. It may have been wrong to hide her from you, maybe you might have liked her, but I couldn’t chance it. All the stories that I’ve read from others suggested that I should have taken the risk and finally lived free of the internal burdens. I pray that would be true. Someday, I’ll write another letter and add it to this one. I hope it has more to say, more happiness, more life. I hope it talks of the happiness of sharing my true self with you. If this is the only letter you read, then know that what matters most is the love I have for you, the joy of being your parent, and the pride I had in watching you succeed in your lives. I would lay down my life to protect you…I have. I would do it again. The bravest thing I’ve ever done…the password is Brina_lives.

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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.

Latest posts by Sabrina (Brina) MacTavish (see all)

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Vicki T.
Vicki T. (@vickit)
4 years ago

Beautifully written. We all have our journey through this and our own realities. I’m so happy for you that you are moving past labels and feeling more in the moment who you are. We are here for you as a community and believe me you are brave just living your life closeted or not. There are too many of us who give up on life because the questions or the answers are too hard to face. Much luv

Samantha " aka" Legs
Samantha " aka" Legs (@samantha)
4 years ago

That was well written and scary at the same time.I have told my wife not to let my body be found wearing womens clothing.

JaneS - aka 'Doc'
4 years ago

As a family we tend not to do ‘open coffin’ viewings so my wife suggested that, should the time come, she will arrange to have my mortal remains dressed in a special dress and laid to rest as Jane. She, my family and close friends will know who I am on the inside then, as it is now in life.

I just hope I have a few more years left to keep picking out dresses.

Dayle (@elguapo)
4 years ago

Very inspirational. Thanks so much for sharing.

Vera Jane Gonsalves
4 years ago

Thank you Brina for getting me “slowly revved up”…… The intro buzzed me….and my heart was actually pumping faster as I continued reading…..I pictured the entire article one scene at a time…in slow motion… was so well written.
God bless you and grant you the desires of your heart……

Sarah Maisy
Sarah Maisy (@ben)
4 years ago

Wow Brina, wonderfully written. I could really feel your pain, joy and especially the fear of losing such special relationships if they ever knew the real you. I hope you find the courage to share all of yourself with those that matter most to you before they get to read your letter.
Sarah xx

April (Pacific Princess)
Active Member
4 years ago

Im tearing up as I read this. So beautifully written, and so heartfelt. I often find myself have similar thoughts about what my life would be like if I had lived it differently, but it always comes back to the fact that there is nothing I would change if it meant giving up my children. They are the one unequivocally “good” thing I have done in my life. I hope you find it within yourself to let your children know, if Brina is how you’d like to live life full time. I am assuming that they are adults. If so,… Read more »

Donna June
Donna June (@lady-donna)
4 years ago

Many times I have thought of leaving a letter with my female things to explain why they are there, in case I leave this world too early. Your excellent letter will inspire me to not just think about it, but to do it.

Amanda Patrick
Amanda Patrick (@sensitive4)
4 years ago

Hi Brina,
Wow what a beautifully written letter. I have had those same thoughts of my children finding my things after I have passed. But just keep trying to think that they will remember me as a good parent to them after time goes by and the initial surprise wears off.

Amanda Patrick

JaneS - aka 'Doc'
4 years ago

Brina does indeed live. I hope that one day your children get to read this letter at a time when you there and are waiting for their feedback. I hope you give them the letter and let them know they have your number to call you when they are ready. I think the fear we face when thinking about telling our loved ones is often misunderstood or not seen as a valid reason for not doing. It is easy for anyone to say “You must tell them or you’re not being honest” but only the individual will ever know when… Read more »

Active Member
Leonara (@leonara)
4 years ago

If I may borrow a phrase from April , “I am tearing up just reading this “. Very timely article for me personally… Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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