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.


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.

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skippy1965 Cynthia
Trusted Member
skippy1965 Cynthia (@skippy1965)
4 years ago

Brina, What a beautiful and poignant article!. I had two separate time of “coming out” to my kids-the first when I admitted to them that I was a CD when they were teenagers after my ex wife and I split up and they were living with her. They had talked about possibly living with me and I felt they needed to be aware of Cyn before making any decisions. I wrote a letter and gave it to them to read while I was in the other room with my mom and one of my sisters (whom I had also told… Read more »

4 years ago

Dear Brina, what a beautiful letter. “I always held back so that you would be happier in your life and not forced to deal with the complexities of mine.” For me this sentence reflects the essence of the dilemma that burdens so many of us. Please consider the idea that there is no way of knowing that the lives of your family will be happier if you keep your secret from them. I understand the risk that comes with sharing your secret and it’s a true deed of love to keep it from them out of protection. I admire you… Read more »

Wanda Shirkey
Wanda Shirkey (@wandas)
4 years ago

Brina, That was a beautiful letter. My wife knows about Wanda but my two kids do not. My wife and I had a talk and she asked me if I wanted to be a girl. I told her if things were different I would. I feel like I have lived a good life, I know where I am going after my life here on Earth is over. My kids are both pretty much on their own now. I think my daughter may know or suspect because one day she gave me a hug and I was wearing a bra. Now… Read more »

Pat Scales
Pat Scales
4 years ago

Brina, Your letter touched me. Several years ago after my wife expressed concern that your sons would find my clothes, shoes, etc, after my demise and would have questions since there would be no way to confuse the size of my clothes with that of my much smaller wife, I decided to write a letter. I titled my letter to my sons “Clothes in the Closet”. It expressed many of the same thoughts found in your note. I told them how much I loved them and loved my wife, their mother. I also explained that neither they nor my wife… Read more »

VickieJ (@vickiej)
4 years ago

That’s powerful Brina. It gives a person a lot to think about

Thank you for writing that



Georgia Lane
4 years ago


Just an amazing letter. My kids finding out is my biggest worry about becoming a CD. Thank you for writing that letter.

Big hugs,


4 years ago

Wonderful letter Brina!
In my case I don’t want my kids to find out. My wife caught me as Angela about a month ago and she is having a very hard time processing the fact that I am part female (80%).
I look forward to reading your next letter.
Hugs and kisses, Angela

Louisa Jones
Louisa Jones (@guitarist)
3 years ago

Wow! That was so touching. I have had the same fears.
You also put into words how I think.
My son may have an idea of how I am but my daughter’s don’t (unless he’s discussed it).
I would like to explain the best I can so they understand but I can’t bring myself to do it.

Sarah Daniels TG
3 years ago

Wow…Just wow. How many of us have this same letter in our head or fears of not being able to explain when we are gone? I took the plunge a year ago and told my mum and sisters about my crossdressing (not dad – he wouldnt understand at all) because in all the hurt from my wife ;leaving me I thought she might try to score points and justify her leaving by sharing my secret online in a moment of rage or whatever. So I told them and a few very close friends. I wanted them to hear about this… Read more »

Dame Veronica Graunwolf
Active Member
3 years ago

Hi Brina! Am glad to be conversing with you. Wow…..that is some story you have. I feel sad and happy for you at the same time. It is amazing to me that so many people have such internal turmoil affecting their lives. It seems to me that it comes down to this. As we travel lifes path, we allow others to “infect us” and we learn to fear what others might think of us. That fear causes sooooo many sleepless nights and slows down our natural openness to life to the point were we are strangled, inactive and miserable. Come… Read more »

Jill Sailmaker
Jill Sailmaker
3 years ago

So true, as I have matured, I have come to the realization of the limited time we have. Living a half life stinks and I finally have a peace about who I really am.

sweetroberta2 crossdressroberta3
2 years ago
Reply to  Jill Sailmaker

Hi Jill youre beautiful

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