Here’s the Thing

Here’s the Thing…

I don’t come with an on/off switch. How convenient would that be? To be able to shut off my feelings and close down my brain when I need to be me.  Right… which me are we discussing again?  That is always going to be the issue.  I was standing next to one of my golfing buddies the other day and I noticed how soft his lips looked.  Kissable lips, I thought.  What?  I gruffly swore under my breath and tried puffing out my chest as I took an extra hard swing at the ball.  I’ve had many such happenings throughout my life; those moments when my brain has a mind of its own…

I had the brief pleasure recently to communicate with a member’s SO and being privy to some of her thoughts. She made me think; I hope I caused her to do so as well.  It’s much more than Heart or Mind, male or female, even whether one is gay or straight.  It is simply indoctrination. I am a product of my rational thoughts, my emotions, and my environment.  My DNA has much to say about my traits, and the older I become, the more my life experiences dictate what might be.

En Femme Style

Let me explain…

Imagine a scenario where we are basically raised in a vacuum. No outside influences whatsoever.  Everything is vanilla plain. Expanding it to include six boys and six girls growing up together, wearing the same outfits, same hair, sleeping in the same beds, eating the same foods, and being subjected to the same stimuli.  The caretakers also are purposely androgynous, looking the same and indistinguishable between male or female. They live this way until age 11 as the onset of puberty begins. They are escorted into the “Room” one by one.  In this room are magnificent clothes, fabrics, shoes, accessories, magazines, scents, colors, foods, toys, books, art, a menagerie of what the world is.  They live in this room for a month and then walk out as them.

Yeah…bliss!  Isn’t this what we struggle with?  The impossibilities that others have burdened us with.  “NO! you can’t wear that; you can’t do that!”  I simply ask, “Why not?” It isn’t about being male or female, but about being human, which is a collective of individuals and not genetic clones.  It’s our presence and our essence that makes us unique.  It is also what draws us to others and they to us.

I fight every day to break out of the stigmatism of being who and what I am.  I like dresses and nylons, long hair, and nails, I like to camp and fish, golf, and read, and watch all genres of movies.  I hate chauvinism and pettiness.  I dislike labels and politics.  I would live authentically me if I could.  And I can’t… or truthfully…won’t.  Because… I am part coward, part selfish, and part a pragmatic realist.  I don’t want to endure the fight…not while I still have a father to take care of.  He is my last excuse.  I will admit that if I were 20 years younger and felt the way I do now, I would be more forthcoming, especially in the reality of these times.  Let me be 20 again, and my life would be shaped much differently than the path I followed. That’s all good and well, but it doesn’t solve me.  The me that must find a balance between their lies and their truth.

We can speculate and debate until the sun comes up, but it still comes down to survival.  How to walk in this world without the fear of physical and mental anguish.  Isn’t that what keeps many of us buried so deep in the closet, the lights off, and the cracks stuffed with towels as we huddle against the abundance of anxiety at being found out to be something that others won’t allow us to be?

Brina is more of me with every passing day.  Not just in the crossdressing sense, but in her mannerisms and reflections.  The clothing, wigs, jewelry, perfume, etc. help ease my anxieties and allow me to put on the male costume and survive the day, but she is ever-present in my thoughts…kissable lips… I no longer think in male or female.  I have trouble discerning what is the right way to sit, speak, walk…think.  I wonder what I would have chosen had I been the experiment; would I have walked out in a dress carrying a fishing pole?

I wonder what the world would be like if tolerance wasn’t something we prayed for and wished for and just was.  I can’t put myself perfectly in anyone else’s shoes, nor can they wear mine.  What is happening today is but a taste of what is coming…it will get worse. Whether I like to wear a dress may not matter as much as if I will accept the label that comes with it.  And that is a shame.

A baby boy and his sister; without color or style specific clothes which one is the boy?  The girl?  The elderly couple in their later years. when prejudices have fallen away, wear the same comfortable clothes and look more alike than not.  The expectations of meeting societal norms no longer matter.  Life and living should be about love and compassion, kindness and exploration, and not judgment and indictment.

My gift to you is a moment of imagination.  Strip away all the expectations and walk into the “Room.”  When you walk out, who would you see in the mirror? I ask because sometimes we feel the need to be either-or.  If I like this, then I have to forgo that.  Why?  Wear you, be you, discover you.

May love carry you through.

Be safe, be reflective, and be passionate.

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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Kim Dahlenbergen
Active Member
Kim Dahlenbergen(@kdahlenbergen)
1 year ago

This was a good read. What really struck me were the terms you used to describe your current situation and reluctance to live more openly than you might. I sometimes see myself as a coward, an imposter, a realist and a few other things. Truth is, I love the time I am able to spend presenting as a woman, but I am afraid of the risks and potential disruption it would cause for others. Its a bit of a conundrum.

Kim Dahlenbergen
Active Member
Kim Dahlenbergen(@kdahlenbergen)
1 year ago

Exactly…but for the consequences. I know, I may be overestimating the adverse consequences, but it is impossible to know for sure. So, for now at least, discretion is the better part of valor.

Cierra Evelyn
Cierra Evelyn(@lionessrising)
1 year ago

Brina, Thanks for sharing your story and the eloquence at which you wrote this article. It means a lot to me at my place in this path. I’ve only recently considered the idea that my interests in the feminine are more than a hobby that was easy to put on a shelf when life got complicated and fitting into the traditional role makes life easier for those whom I love. However, recently I’ve realized that if the reason I’m depressed and anxious is related to being dishonest about my gender identity than maybe my conforming to a male role is… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Cierra Evelyn
Claire Conner
Claire Conner(@clairec)
2 years ago

Brina, thank you for writing this article. It was something I needed to read and hear right now. I know how you feel and wish we all could not only have the courage but be able to live without the fear of judgment to live out our true lives. That’s my current struggle now and just trying to figure out the best way to do it.

Kelly Blind
2 years ago

Very well written.
Thanks Brina

JAKe Hatmacher
Active Member
JAKe Hatmacher(@middleground)
2 years ago

After I freed myself from the jail my mind constructed, I set myself more free. I say more free because I still occasionally am concerned what others, usually people I’ve known, will say or think when they see me now, which is in my female self. Let me explain. I dressed off and on for a long time, maybe not as long as many of you, in female attire, and that included some makeup. It wasn’t until I got frustrated enough with myself for succumbing to perceived social pressure that the door to my jail cell was opened. I finally… Read more »

Sarah Pal
Sarah Pal(@sarahxxsis)
2 years ago

Brina thank you, I would love to go fishing wearing a dress. I feel the same I would love to mix together my male and female traits and just be me, and I say all the time if I was 20 again how different my life would be. I am now 70 and feel I am to old to go through with a total transition, I’m now just starting month 20 off HRT it was not only prescribed to me for the physical changes I was hoping for, but to level my head and ease my anxiety, and it has… Read more »

Willow West
Willow West(@phoenix1)
2 years ago

What a beautiful article, Brina! Since I actually identify as genderfluid, I especially relate to the desire to “just be me" free of “traditionally" conceived gender restraints. I loved your line about if you had been part of “the room" experiment that you might have walked out in a dress carrying a fishing pole. I would love to be more easily both masculine and feminine parts of myself all at the same time, because that’s who I am inside…BOTH. It would be so refreshing not to have to make a conscious choice about which presentation to “choose" and instread be… Read more »

Jaiylyn Lawley
Jaiylyn Lawley(@jaiymelynne)
2 years ago

Sabrina, Thank you again for your timely words. I feel so much the same, it’s uncanny. The on/off switch; I can’t find it either. Sometimes I think, just let it go. It’s too hard. But then, I have a day where I get up, put on a little makeup, wig, comfy top and shorts and just be me around the house. It is very liberating. I feel wonderful. I reflect on this all time. Could I really be me all the time? Is the struggle worth it? Am I crazy for wanting to? But in the mirror I see ME,… Read more »

Lauren Mugnaia
Active Member
Lauren Mugnaia(@reallylauren)
2 years ago

Thank you Brina, It is good to pause and try to see where we’re at, and how are we doing, your article made me do just that. It has only been three months since I started living full time as a woman, and I was pondering just how successful I was at actually doing so. There’s a lot more to it than just putting the clothes and makeup on and showing up! So I asked those who work with me, who are close to me and supportive, to give me their take on how I was doing. One of the… Read more »

Dawn J
Dawn J(@beachgirl)
2 years ago

Love it, Brina! My thoughts, precisely. I could have authored this.

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