It’s been awhile since I’ve contributed an article. I think part of being the Managing Editor is letting others use their voice instead of taking up space. I also see the trends of the current and more active members. After nearly three years on CDH and two on TGH, I’ve seen and read a few things that have caused me to reflect. The Covid-19 pandemic changed the world and how we (as in being a crossdresser or transgender) have also needed to adapt.

    The real me is that burning question I seek an answer to daily. It has never been fully answered, not even close, nor do I believe I’ll ever be satisfied with the current “answer of the moment”—it changes to fit the times. Until this past week, I hadn’t touched anything feminine (CD wise) since January 2nd. The winter is my time to let Brina shine the most, and it started out that way. I was keeping tabs on eBay and making lists of things I wanted to purchase, even planning on taking that next step and seeing a therapist—looking forward to doing so as I was certain it was time. I dreamed Brina thoughts all the time and wanted to take some small steps to make her more real than layers of makeup and imagination.

    And then…she nearly disappeared within a two-day period. Off came the pretty glued-on nails, clothes, accessories, and wigs as they were downsized to fit into two suitcases and her shoes were stored in boxes under the bed. My blended drawers of male and female clothing became all male. Brina had physically stepped aside and gave the body control back to my male self. She has never left me mentally as I am equally her in my mind. For the last 7 months, I didn’t cringe when I looked in the mirror and saw the beard growing (I still kept my eyebrows neatly trimmed) or the hair on my arms, legs, and torso. I never once said that she was gone; this was different. I did purge some extras and threw out some old makeup, but I kept the core that is Brina. I just wasn’t, and I didn’t have the desire to do more than share my thoughts with her. She is a part of me, and she helps me to navigate this thing we call our life.


    I have no explanation for the utter reversal of direction. It was for the best as the male me had some serious health issues during the spring and some lingering ones still. I wonder if Brina is psychic and knew they were going to happen and that it would be best for the male me to tackle them. I committed to sharing this body and life with her nearly seven years ago. To let the future unfold as it would and face the consequences—not to force them for the sake of proving something (passing in public without being recognized) or pushing for changes, when I didn’t know what the real me is supposed to be. Maybe Brina wanted to give me some personal time to reflect, to see if I wanted the pre-January path to continue or to alter its direction.

    As the boxes and suitcases were packed and stored away, but never out of reach or out of mind, they were recently opened and Brina smiled a glossy pink smile—albeit surrounded by facial hair, but it was her smile in the mirror. As I slipped on a pair of her favorite heels, I could hear her inner-voice calmly reminding me that this is our life to walk together, no matter where or for how long. I’m an anxious person by nature and that makes me introverted. Brina has increased my anxieties but she has also brought an overall calming influence to me. There is always the fear of being caught and forced into life-altering changes, including the path of some form of transition—if that becomes the answer to the real me. I don’t know, yet. I have no idea. Okay; I have some idea of the real me. I know that being 100% male isn’t, not even 80% or even 70%. It starts getting fuzzier after that.

    The real me? I’m kind or try to be, compassionate and empathetic—I cry easily, I’m attracted to femininity and not just gender, and I’d love to find someone to share my life with that is accepting of my uncertainties. It’s taken a long time to squash the labels and expectations of my generation and those from before to see the world as belonging to one race—the human race. There doesn’t need to be any other label, period.

Visit Transgender Heaven

    Like many of us, I’m jealous of those who can or who are better adapt at becoming female or presenting as such. If women think they have body issues they should try being a six-foot, slightly overweight man who wears a size 13 woman’s shoe and dreams of being petite and pretty with access to all the wonderful shoes size 9 or smaller. We are a continuous body-shamming group, desiring to be one of the five percent, the modelesque epitome of femininity. I’m not happy with my male body, and I’m surely not happy with its female look.  I will admit that I have nice legs and smaller, slender hands, but unless I hide the tummy and wear the right styles for me, I can look like a tall, pregnant chicken on a good day. I’m not even going to mention the severe farmer’s tan I’ve got going—no sundress for me anytime soon.

    Back to the REAL ME. There has been an explosion recently of gender-altered photos being used as representation of what we wish to be or in some cases, being used to falsely represent who we are. I’m on Flickr, too and there are so many pictures that have been photoshopped or gender-swapped that the real person and who they could be with years of hormones and exercise are being replaced by unrealistic and artificial expectations. I get it. I want to be that adorable 30 year old minx with large breasts, a perfect body, and pouty lips. Oh…and the button nose and large oval eyes. It ain’t goin’ to happen. I’m also not saying don’t dream, but if you post fantasy, be honest about it and say so.

    We tell our wives, sisters, daughters, mothers, and all other women that they are beautiful just the way they are and to quit trying to fit the 5% mode. We can all get better at doing our makeup to enhance and draw attention to the features that show well and to hide those that don’t. We can learn how to use camera angles to show us best. We can wear the type of clothing and hair styles that makes us look (in my case) like the mature and classy office manager and not a poor attempt at doing sexy for sexy sake; I’m never going to be a pinup or look good in lingerie. Trust me, the right clothes, the right presentation, and the right attitude will convey all the sexy that is needed. We need to curtail some of the negative perceptions that the world has of crossdressers. I’m not saying that we should dress our age, but instead, we should dress to what we can respectfully pull off. “Emulation is the best form of flattery.”

Visit Transgender Heaven

    The real me is a mixed-up blend that isn’t going to provide me any answers soon. I can realistically dream what I might be 10 years from now and take the steps to work towards that dream, let it happen as it will, or fight it and keep pretending that I’m something that I’m not. A little fantasy is a good thing; living only in a fantasy isn’t. I’m already hiding behind my makeup and wigs, I don’t need to become an avatar that isn’t me or isn’t realistically possible. I need to push out into the real world, let Brina feel the wind in her hair (she wants a little red convertible), and find some needed answers to who is the real me and what our place in the world is going to be together.

As always, be kind, be humble, and be safe J



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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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Marlie Shyly
Marlie Shyly (@plussizedmarlie)
2 months ago

Wow! So much in there hit home with me. I am almost 60 and have been crossdressing since my early teens. I am in the closet and it doesn’t seem like Marlie will be coming out at all. I agree that there is too much misrepresentation online. Pictures of cis women claiming to be cder’s. I don’t want to dress my age, but I know I don’t want to look like some sexy young thing that I’m not. I am finally back on hormones after having surgery on my hip. While off them, I think Marlie was present but not… Read more »

Olivia Livin
Active Member
Olivia Livin (@ohlivialivin)
2 months ago

Thank you Brina for reminding us of the importance in believing and being ourselves. Practicing what we preach to the gg’s in our lives. There is far more involved in self reflection than simply looking in a mirror or at a doctored selfie. I am one of Samantha’ misfits in that I rarely hide behind hair and makeup as it just doesn’t fit for my mindset, and yet I certainly still feel at least partially feminine to my core. BTW I wear sundresses and tank tops purposely so that I can avoid those dastardly farmer tan lines, thus enabling a… Read more »

April (Pacific Princess)
Active Member
2 months ago

Brina – so much to digest. You have encapsulated so much of what I have felt over the years. And I am so lucky that I have come out of it all knowing my direction on this journey. When I thought I was “just” a CD I was always able to tell myself that this was just a “hobby”. Now that I know for me it is more it has been quite the journey. You have been through so much. At 62 I don’t have any illusions about the road ahead. Being who we “truly” are is the ultimate goal.… Read more »

Stephanie Kennedy
Active Member
Stephanie Kennedy (@qtestephy)
2 months ago

Hi Brina Thank You Be careul your inner beauty is starting to show on the outside Very lovely photo Luv Stephanie

Sophie Frenchie
Sophie Frenchie (@sophiefr)
2 months ago

Congratulations Brina on your article. I know how challenging it can be to write about yourself in such a way and this shows that you are making steps to resolve issues in your life, the as best as possible. You look lovely in your photo and should be proud of yourself and not put yourself down – because you really are beautiful and you know you are that person. The fact that others can identify with your words is excellent, as you have brought a few things into the arena for discussion. I would expect nothing less from you with… Read more »

Carla Jones
Active Member
Carla Jones (@happygirl)
2 months ago

Sometimes I think it may be harder to be a crossdresser than any other type of person. Society still looks at us as weird, strange or he must be gay. And telling a SO is a whole next level of difficult. I love dressing as Carla! I find a sense of happiness and comfort that nothing else brings. When I slip on my skirt all my stress seems to slip away. I know the covid-19 has really brought out Carla and I go out in public frequently. I’m no longer married and an empty nester so it is easier to… Read more »

Vanessa Law
Active Member
Vanessa Law (@cdh)
2 months ago

Brina the way you craft your words is as beautiful as the soul lying inside them. You are truly a treasure, your heartfelt sentiment moved me! The 70% – truly a challenging place to be – even if the full way forward is hard, at least one can charge ahead with their whole being.

With love,

Elaine (@elguapo)
1 month ago

Sabrina – thank you so much for this article. It speaks to me on so many levels. Plus very well written.

Elaine (formerly known as Dayle)

Rachelle Simone
Rachelle Simone (@rachellesimone)
1 month ago

Hi Sabrina, What you have said here is so on point. I am 54 years old now, dealt with a very serious health issue 2 years ago and I have been working to live my life much healthier now. My views on how I look at myself have changed, even though I have been this way as long as I can remember. It is so important to love and take care of yourself. I love the statement of having a little fantasy in your life is good, but living it may be a bit much. Thank you for taking the… Read more »

Cheryl Ann (Cassie) Sanders
Active Member
Cheryl Ann (Cassie) Sanders (@cassiesanders)
1 month ago

“The unexamined life is not worth living”

IMO, one of the most important benefits of CDH is the way it encourages and facilitates introspection. IMO, letting momentum take one through life without thinking deeply and honestly about who one is and why one does what one does, or, as existentialist would say, without CHOOSING one’s way through life, is no life at all.

It’s only fitting that one of leaders, Brina, does it about as well as one can.

Quite an article!

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