Gift Exchange

Reflections, anticipation, doubt, hope and nearly every other feeling all seem to happen at once when the Christmas season arrives and the looming uncertainty that accompanies the new year approaches. I’ve shared some of the health issues within my family. My mother passed away in November 2021 and my father (95) is dealing with the complications of diabetes. This, while my hearing continues to decline, and I had to make a quick decision to sell out my practice as the newest levy of fees would be detrimental to me continuing to do it going forward.

That’s the gift that I’d like to exchange. I’m blessed that I have my father, most of my good health, and the potential to start a new adventure. What would I be willing to pay so that I may return my current problems in exchange for wonderful outcomes—a successful procedure for my father, new hearing treatments, and the right employment opportunity that will challenge and embrace me?

So… what does all this have to do with crossdressing or transgender?

En Femme Style

There is a gift that many of us have received but have stored away in hopes we can forget about it, or we have tried desperately to return it without the receipt. At times, it has been opened with excitement and hope, and then shamelessly tossed aside as someone has ridiculed it, thus making us feel bad for ever having wanted it. I know I stood in line at the (fictitious) customer service counter trying to return it or exchange it for a more “MANLY” gift. The funny thing about that exchange—it never made me feel better or brought me the same joy.

This gift is special. For many, this understanding is yet to come. I sincerely hope that it does for you. This gift is now my most cherished possession. Without it, I’m lost… in so many ways. If others knew how special it was to me, they would most likely turn their noses in disgust or ridicule it away. What they fail to see or even recognize is that when I accepted my gift, it dramatically changed me. Not just in a physical sense, (although I watch my weight better because of it,) but in an emotional and overall mental way.

I no longer fight with my inner-voices, nor do I worry as much about being outed—should it happen. Not everyone is at that place; I understand that, as do many of your sisters. It’s a rarity that we have a supportive spouse or family behind us. This gift would be so much easier to appreciate if we could place it on a shelf for all to see. Most of us who even accept the gift without trying to return it, hide it, only taking it out when no one else is around to admire. This gift, like so many others, is just that, a gift that will only have a true value to the person who receives it. As an author, it still amazes me when someone tells me that one of my novels touched them, just as I shake my head at some reviews and wonder, “Did they even read the book?”

The older that I’ve gotten, the more valuable this gift has become for me. I’m a crossdresser that is something more… what that more is, I’m still uncertain. This gift, once I accepted it for myself, against the negativity of those who condemn it, I found me. Yes… the me that loves to sashay in a party dress and ridiculously high heels and the me that enjoys the benefits of being manly occasionally. Most of the time, I’m somewhere in between. The remnants of two patterned lives merging into one in order to make living survivable, hopeful, and possible. This is what I know. If I were to transition, a large part of my personality wouldn’t change because I’m already of one mind. I don’t playact when I’m dressed, I’m more apt to act when not. (How I cross my legs, hold my hands, smile at others, hold conversations.)

Before you hide your gift away or try to exchange it, ask yourself honestly why. I totally get the need to be a man for my family, spouse, work, etc. Responsibility is the biggest ridiculer of our gift. It is the most frightening bully we will ever encounter, and it’s real. It is something you will have to come to terms with, some kind of arrangement. But this gift is not something to be ashamed of or eradicated in harmful ways. As a father, I was grateful when my daughters embraced traditional manly things (not talking about them wearing sweats and no makeup-men’s clothing) but rarely do you see a father feel good about a son embracing feminine things. We need to throw away the old standards and accept that they were always wrong and invoked by those who had an agenda (Most certainly-men and religion.)

There are few gifts that can bring me to tears or offer the hope that this special gift has done for me. If I’m ever lucky enough to be one of those who find a supportive partner, then my life will be even better. For now, I keep my gift close, sometimes in plain sight, but it is never out of mind or placed where I can’t quickly touch it. This gift helps to fulfil me in ways that I don’t understand, and others will never be able to conceive. It is a gift that I will always cherish and one that shall continue to appreciate in intrinsic value.

When you look in the mirror the next time. See yourself with your heart’s eyes and not your mind’s eye. It doesn’t matter whether you are dressed or not. You are who you are regardless of the clothes you have on. Let that feeling surround you and warm you like a Christmas fire (and spiked eggnog.) This gift can bring a healing to your soul. I know that it also brings tribulations as well. Find that balance that will allow you to be you and to do better than merely surviving. Find a way to live peacefully in heart and mind. It starts with being kind to yourself.

 

Happy Holidays to all of you! Until next time…

More Articles by Sabrina MacTavish

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I've been on this path for nearly 50 years, beginning at age 7 when I wore my grandma's old dresses with my cousins. It felt natural. Later, I went through the fetish stage and fought with my insides. After my divorce 20 years ago, I let Brina out only to bury her away during another relationship. Now I accept that she is more who I really am and live my life in the hopes that my path will one of future happiness. Over the last 6 years, I've found out more about who I am, the path that I'm on, and what it means to be transgendered. I've also been much happier since I acknowledged and accepted myself for who I am. I'm still much in the closet as responsibilities take precedence. It doesn't help being an introvert by nature, but I will gracefully walk (mostly, ok, not so gracefully) this path as I become a better me.

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Jane Scott
Member
Jane Scott(@janeymygirl)
27 days ago

Sabrina, this was a wonderful article. (Sorry I’m late in commenting; I haven’t been on the site much these past few months.) Your metaphor was perfect. I’ve never wanted to return or exchange my gift, even though I’ve had to keep it out of sight most of my life. I do so love being a woman, whether I’m dressing the part or not. I’ve hugged this gift to myself and treasured it since I was a little girl. I can share it with a few others now, and that makes me proud and happy. Thank you for articulating this feeling… Read more »

Sophie Jones
Sophie Jones(@sophiejones7422)
1 month ago

Dear Sabrina, Thank you for this article. It really spoke to me and where I am right now. I am still very much at the beginning of accepting my “gift” and have been going though one of those times where I wish to send it back or lock it away! Your article makes me think about how this can be thought of as an addition to my life. An addition that does not take away from everything else I have. As long as it remains secret! I liked your line about “responsibility being the biggest ridiculer. I have a wife,… Read more »

Marg Produe
Active Member
Marg Produe(@margprodue)
1 month ago

You are so right Sabrina. I always knew that I was different. After I learned why and understood, I wanted to share it and help others. And that is what I’ve tried to do ever since. Thank you for this timely article and I wish you and yours all the best during this holiday season. Marg

Janus
Member
Janus(@janice)
1 month ago

Hi Brina. I really appreciate your touching story. I revealed my gift o my wife lo those many years ago. She was unsupportive so my gift stayed wrapped on the shelf. I took it out on many occasions with disastrous results. The responsibilities ran my life. My wife passed in2017. I moved to my home state and brought my gift with me. I unwrapped it and threw away the wrappings. I have fully embraced my ‘authentic self’ and have been accepted everywhere I go. I am so blessed to live my senior years with this gift. Thank you again for… Read more »

Shiloh Rose
Member
Shiloh Rose(@farmgurl)
1 month ago

Sabrina,
Thank you so much for your wonderful words, yes it is such a blessing.
I have tried many times to give it back before I came to grasp it was my gift and blessing and I began to unwrap.
Only then did it become a journey of discovery into myself.
And yet it is still so hard at times and humbling. But the benefits are so much better than before.
Shiloh Rose 🌹

Lauren Mugnaia
Member
Active Member
Lauren Mugnaia(@reallylauren)
1 month ago

Oh my Sabrina! Thank you so much! As I wander through this Christmas season and wonder what my two children are thinking about their father now being a woman, I have to consider where I am now. In the course of writing my book I have dredged up so many memories of things and events that took place and shaped my life. And the one thing that was always constant, was the knowledge that I was different, always drawn to femininity, always desiring to be a woman. And now I am, a trans woman, legally a female and experiencing emotions,… Read more »

Ms. Tia Tracy
Member
Active Member
Ms. Tia Tracy(@tia4751)
1 month ago

Thankz Brina, Ya just put an end to my re-wrapping of gifts… LOL Very touching Huggz Tia

Michelle Lawson
Member
Member
Michelle Lawson(@michellelarsen1)
1 month ago

Sabrina, if what you wrote, does not cause someone to sit, and think, and ponder this wonderful gift, then they probably ‘have not read the book’. To a certain extent, I guess we all get to re-open that gift each day when we wake up. And I’m sure a good number of those days we wish we could put it back or exchange it and go back to bed. But we can’t. So we nurture and protect our gift as best we can, in the hopes that the gift will be a little bit improved come the next morning. My… Read more »

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