“I’m never going to do it again.” You know the old saying, “If I had a nickel for every time I said that.” I’ve come to a point in my 56th year where I’ve accepted what I’m becoming, and yet…I still have doubts (both ways) and moments where I desperately want to be the false  male imagine of myself that I’ve lived most of my life. The only difference today is when I feel that way  the guilt that follows is for the panic I feel at almost purging everything that makes me, me and not for wanting to be more feminine.

If only I were 12 again with understanding parents and oodles of money, I’d take the hormone blockers and live my life more in tune with how I feel inside—female. But that’s 56 year old me daydreaming of what might have been. My wish today would be to move to a new city, find an employer who wouldn’t mind how I came dressed to work, and live in peace at being me. I can’t, not yet, and maybe never. So now what?

I spend hours researching, dreaming, and shaping this life to be as full as it can. I still sneak around in shadows and fear being caught. Only now, I’m willing to deal with the aftermath, even welcome it should it happen. There are little signs all around me that inquisitive investigators might see and inquire about. I have face cream to use each day after shaving, fruity scented shampoo and body lotion on the shelf, not to mention all the items hidden in my drawers amongst my male clothes and the two large suitcases that should be empty, but are not.

What stops me is the relationship I have with my children, my parents, and the responsibilities I take seriously in the volunteer work I do. I’m not sure I’m ready to give up one, two, or all of them, even if it means future happiness and new opportunities and friends. Money is an issue too—when isn’t it. Buying items necessary to calm my inner anxieties isn’t cheap, and I have a fixation on wigs and high heels. It’s fair to say that Brina spends all of our money on looking good or at least trying to.

Trying to be all male is never going to happen again. I gave it the old college try, been married and divorced, spent two years giving Brina a shot, purged it all and dove into another relationship, only to become single once more and finally accepting that I’m a mixed bag of ever-changing emotions and trepidations. I think those relationships didn’t work out because of it and because of my lack of personal happiness. If I could meet a woman at a crossdressing convention who found me worthy–that would be sweet. I’m still not sure where I am on the spectrum of sexuality and gender. The biggest obstacle to my psyche was the feeling of not being a good person. The need to hide my heels from my spouse and to wear her clothes caused me to doubt the good I could be. It’s sad, but society still looks at us negatively. Raise your hand and proclaim yourself transgendered and there is slightly more sympathy. I’m stuck in the middle somewhere.

This journey is mine alone. I have to make the decisions that I can live with—or live without. The best I can do is to be me. And that means all of what I am whether dressed in jeans and drinking a beer with the boys at the bowling alley or strutting around home in my 5 inch heels and fully ready for a night on the town as Brina (even though she doesn’t go out she still dresses for the opportunity). Inside, I’m the compilation of each. I don’t separate them the way I used to, which also reflects the little physical changes in my appearance; the neater eyebrows, the way I walk, the mannerisms I display (crossing my legs using my hands more when speaking), the colors and types of clothes I wear, and the conversations I’m willing to engage in. I’ve become less judgmental on myself and especially on others. I still have my bad days, but I’m learning to like me more every day and to worry less about what might happen as I try to move towards what I want to happen.

May your journey bring you peace, may your life be filled with promise, and may your hopes always outweigh your doubts.


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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)

  1. Michelle 6 months ago

    Hi Brina

    I’m new and have just read your article. So much of it is exactly like my life. I’m divorced now, have two amazing kids and various other “life” type commitments that make living as Michelle impossible (at least for now).

    There are days when I’m up and days when I’m down. Today is a down day and after reading your post I just felt like crying. When I read the paragraph about being 12 and hormone blockers, I wonder what my life would have been like if I could have been “me” from the start.

    Thanks again for the article. Also loved the last line – peace, promise and hope – it’s all I can wish for.


    • Author

      As I’ve moved through my life, it’s easy to become reflective. Not just in this lifestyle we share, but in all that has happened. I’m an introvert by nature and an obsessive contemplator–always planning out multiple scenarios of what might happen. It doesn’t make it easy to be me or share me with others. Going out in public……… much closer than it ever has been.

      Which brings me to the comment of peace, promise, and hope. These, to me, are the words which I have come to recognize my life as. I’ve found peace in letting Brina be more than just an hour, a day, or a weekend. She is allowed to be an ongoing part of me, and doing so has brought more equilibrium to my life–less anxiety, less panic attacks, and less built up obsessing. The simple things such as using face moisturizing lotion after shaving, keeping my eyebrows more neutral shaped, my fingernails longer, or shaving off that nasty body hair blends my psyche together…and brings some much needed and ongoing peace.

      I’ve found promise in that I’m not alone, not even remotely. Take a look around the internet and you can see how many of us there are…and our numbers are growing. What a difference in the last 40 years from where I started. There is promise that I might be able to dress, shop, eat, work, and just be who I want without fear of being persecuted.

      And I’ve found hope because of all those who share my feelings, my desires, and my shortcomings. It’s as much mental for me as it is physical. For too long I believed that only by being passable could I be accepted. It’s not going to happen, not for me, but for many others it might. I’ve learned that it’s not about how others perceive me, but how I feel sitting in front of my computer and not posing in front of the mirror. There are times when the stars align and I look 90% Brina and feel 100% as such (minus you know what). The hope comes from reading and communicating with others, hearing their stories, sharing mine, and being able to help some with issues they struggle with.

      If there has been one thing that has defined me as my life has gone on, its been learning what the act of kindness really means. For years I believed I was unworthy as a human because of this horrible affliction. Now, I’m a better person because of the gift bestowed on me. I would not be the kinder soul, the more forgiving person, nor the more patient one were it not for letting Brina shape my life.

      So I wish for all, peace, promise, and hope….


  2. Brienna Dennouix 6 months ago

    Hi Brina,

    Your post really hit home with me, thank you so much for posting this.


  3. Lea 1 year ago

    Hi Brina,

    Your post really hit home for me. I’ve hit a low of lows today. Work is frustrating, my volunteer endeavors are feeling unrewarding, family is disappointing, and being a crossdresser is hopeless. I guess it’s all been building up – seems like there are some weeks of the year that are really low and I wonder if not being a crossdresser would at least be one less hopeless cause to follow. Then, there are other weeks where I’m on top of the world, covert crossdresser, model employee, family person.

    I like your investigator reference, I think of that too…if one day I’m gone suddenly, all those clearing out my belongings will be in for a shock. They might have suspected I’m a crossdresser, but none really know to what extent. The drawers of items, the simple looking shoe boxes, the hidden plastic bags, and if they get real lucky, my posts on here.

    I really liked how you ended you post!

    – Lea

  4. Sophie Frenchie 1 year ago

    Hi Brina,
    That is a very heart felt piece of writing sweetheart. I can sympathize with you on a number of things that you say. I read an article about loving yourself completely recently. It’s not often I discover something that hits at the heart of what I feel, but this resonated so much more than many thing else I have read. It made me look at how I had been through the best part of my life – 2 marriages and 2 children and a long term relationship. For as long as I can recall I have never loved myself particularly and not over confident in my personal life. I never considered that my secretive dressing had a serious impact on my relationships either. However, after much thought and reflection I have a different view now. I believe that my frustration of not being the real me and keeping it secretive was quite damaging to me personally. Eventually I feel that I focused my discontent on those close to me which had an adverse affect on my life and relationships. Since accepting who I am and making the choice to be Sophie, I am probably the most content and happiest I have been in my life. I still have a lot of things to sort out, but that’s life however you look at it. No regrets and I’m working on loving myself as much as I tried to love others.
    Sophie xxx

  5. Kim Paige 1 year ago

    Thanks for sharing this. While each of us faces unique challenges and circumstances; the constants are the lies we tell ourselves as we go through this. Knowing we are not alone means so much. Thanks.

  6. Kristy 1 year ago

    Hi Brina,
    reading your post above was like reading my very own story yet uncommitted to paper… Seems we are both standing at the same crossroads in many ways in terms of the myriad of deep desires and subsequent struggles that come with them on a daily basis. Absolutely spot on in every aspect… the one and only difference for me being that i have never purged, and don’t think i ever could/would at this point. I have at the very least finally accepted the obvious and inevitable and know i’ve come too far to try and bury it the way i had done my whole life.
    Coming across the details of someones innermost thoughts and secrets is always so inspirational and refreshing for me to know that others out there that feel exactly as i do. I’m so happy to have found this site. I love the sense of community and support that exists here. Thank you so much for sharing yourself. :))


  7. Marcia 1 year ago

    Hi Sabrina,

    Sometimes I think I’m my own woman, the woman I hope to meet someday.

  8. Jan 1 year ago

    I really enjoyed the article. I feel the same way. I do when I can dress up and go out and I feel so good. One day I hope to be able to dress up and go out without the guilt.

  9. Magdalena 1 year ago

    My ex GF found my bag of clothes and said she could not wrap her head around it. I tried lying my way through it and eventually fessed up to it and blamed it on my childhood experiences. I now dress at home when I’m alone and endulge my feminine side. It’s easier now to hide my secrets that I’m alone but enjoy being who I am.

    I really enjoying your story and can relate. I’ve purged too but always come back to what makes me feel good. I question my secrets when out with friends but they don’t need to know what I do in private that makes me feel complete.

    Thanks for posting.

  10. zena simmons 1 year ago

    The one I keep saying is that not gonna let no one stop or slow me down however on other hand I’m the one doing it to myself by only dressing up during certain time’s or not letting her ecsape out in public like she should letting male image take over an showing himself to others not letting her show her kindness n caring personality show or prove loving person she is

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