So let’s begin by suggesting that this is the first time you’ve ever put on a pair of silk panties. Probably not very likely! Perhaps that may of happened back in elementary school when you were fascinated by the red pair that pretty little girl with the long blonde curls wore under her Easter dress. I guess the point I am trying to make here; is that some of us have been on this path for a long time. Some are just now coming to terms with it, while others are shrugging shoulders and perhaps saying, “If I could only go back.” or something else.

I’ve always been a thinker, analyzing all the ‘what if’s’ that pop into your head. Today, I consider the question I’ve asked myself often, ‘Ok, so now what?’. You’ve found your way to this site — and an amazing site where there are over 15,000 members and counting, many who offer their guidance and share their stories. Possibly, most ask themselves that same question. The answer is as varied as the person who asks it. We are similar in our journeys and we are individualistic in our pursuits.

I spent most of my teens and early twenties believing I had a sexual fetish for heels and nylons. I loved seeing women wearing them and I loved the rare opportunities I had to wear them myself even more. Just when I thought that was all it was, I bought a dress at a garage sale. I’d seen a similar one on a woman I admired and I had to have it. It wasn’t even close to my size, but I paraded around the house in it for an hour before the guilt hit me — I threw it in the trash. ‘Ok, so now what?”.

While my life moved on – the more I tried to suppress the urges, the worse they got. Until one day I snapped and bought a pair of heels, I found some much needed release. It pretty much stayed that way through my marriage and kids. I found the need to wear women’s clothing a sexual gratification for the lack of intimacy in my marriage and my uncontrollable fetish. Then came the divorce and for the first time, I completely immersed myself into being Brina… and I liked it. “Ok, so now what?”

For almost two years, Brina became everything. I lost weight and became obsessed with learning how to walk, do makeup, and dress appropriately. In short, how to be a woman. In a sudden realization and a terrifying moment I asked, “Ok, so now what?”. If my ex-wife hadn’t stripped me of my self-worth, I might have accepted where I was headed and who I really was, but I didn’t. I purged every remnant of Brina and fell in love with a wonderful woman for seven years to prove something. It was beautiful and sad. I never told her and it ate me up. I also stayed true and didn’t dress. I didn’t need to because we had good relations… until we didn’t, and I still didn’t dress.

Hindsight is great in helping you connect the dots of your life. After the relationship ended, I fought against Brina until another of those defining moments and I asked the question once more, “Ok, so now what?”. I started slowly, just letting Brina have a moment here and there. Although it felt different this time and I knew it! It was ok, I was going to be ok, and Brina was ok too.

The answer had always been there, the internal voice that spoke to me when I needed comfort and support. The part of me that I’d been neglecting, suppressing, and the part of me that was a fragmented individual got my attention. All I really needed was to share my life with Brina. Together, we are stronger, happier, healthier, and a better human being. I have found unity and peace. I had once felt unworthy. Now I understand worth isn’t in the perception that others have in the clothes I wear or material possessions, but simply in me liking the reflection in the mirror and in my compassion for others.

“Ok, so now what?” the question rises once again! I really don’t have a definitive answer. I can tell you that lots of self-reflection has helped me to see how the disjointed parts of my life have finally begun to merge in a way that makes some sense of all this.  This is who I am and I will proudly walk this path forward and deal with the consequences that inevitably will come as a result of it. I like the person that I am becoming and I don’t ever want to deny any part of myself ever again. The future will only continue to allow me to evolve into who the person I am supposed to be. I will never stop asking ot growing as I forever ponder on “Ok, so now what?”

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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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33 Comments
  1. Mandy williams 4 months ago

    OMG as i read your article i was sitting here stunned its like you truly read my mind, everything you said described me and my mind perfectly I’m still sitting here as i type this just blown away that it describes my past in every way and where i am at in life now
    You have written this so beautifully Brina and you are such a wonderful writer
    Thank you again for making so much sense and making me realise new things i had not thought of in such a long time

    • Author

      Mandy,

      If I can help one person ease their stress, smile a little more, or even stop the latest need to purge, then I’m happy. I believe that our minds keep trying to tell us that this is who we are and instead of fighting it, we should find a way to embrace it (within the complexities of our lives.) My life was always worse when I tried the hardest to bury it, not that there weren’t times when I felt mostly male and embraced that role. This is just a part of me and an important part…it just took me too long to understand it. Hopefully, others will benefit by reading my thoughts and talking with the others on this wonderful site.

      Brina

  2. Andrea Adlerberg 5 months ago

    Why does there have to be a right or wrong? My take on it (philosophy light–more sugar than protein …LOL) is this:

    In order for out society to function we require rules of behavior — even wolves in a pack have social behavior rules. In many ways these rules serve a valid purpose, and part of our pack animal DNA makes us feel good about following the rules. It means we fit in, we belong, etc. However, most of us also have problems with low self esteem so we can make following the rules something of a morality fetish. Again, maybe no problem as long as it pertains to the necessary rules–although these folks often come across as rather self-righteous. The problem begins when we make it important to follow rules that aren’t necessary, such as our choice of dress, gender expression, etc. Then we have the low self-esteem self-righteous people having a hissy fit because it somehow gives them a sense of moral superiority. I’m sure there are deeper layers to this, but that is my ‘arm chair psychology’ view point.

  3. Andrea Adlerberg 5 months ago

    Well written article, Brina. It is easy to see that you are a professional writer. I especially appreciate the point you make about not denying one’s feminine self. That along with other people’s comments about balance rings so true for me. To invest all of my energy in my feminine self gets life out of balance for me, BUT, to put all the energy it takes to completely suppress my feminine self also creates an unbearable imbalance. Your message of self-acceptance and openness to the future is gratifying. Thank you.

    –Andrea

    • Author

      Thank you for your insights, Andrea! You make a very salient point about balance. Fighting this wonderful, annoying, special, demanding, amazing part of us takes as much if not more effort…and added stress (mentally and physically) than it does to embrace it. The truth that no one wants to admit: we are made up of male and female DNA. It’s natural in a world of 7 billion that we can no longer easily separate into 2 categories…male and female. Genetics will always win.

      The bigger issue is why there has to be a right or wrong, and…who decides? Humanity has come so far and has a million miles to go. I hope it evolves as fast as technology. I remember when there weren’t microwaves…

      Brina

  4. Steph Di Firenze 5 months ago

    Brina,
    Thank you for sharing where you are in your life’s journey and how you have come to t\be who you are where you are. The important part is that you are looking forward with your question. I am only just starting on my journey, but I have had, in some ways, a very similar beginning. For me perhaps the stripping away of my self-worth was the catalyst for questioning all of the social conditioning since my birth. To build someone new requires breaking down all that was there before right down to the foundations and restarting. This is where your perennial question is so important. Every time I ask myself that question it marks an important point in the journey. I have so very much to learn, and practice, for the outward appearance but I am already at peace with two complementary persona. I know where I want to travel, but I also need to consider those who have helped me throw off my beginnings and nurtured my fledgling desire even if it has caused them heartache. Time will tell how quickly I next need to as myself “so now what?”.

    Steph

    • Author

      Steph,

      Nicely put. I think I know where I want to go, but things change and the path often diverges. The one thing that I’ve come to accept is that I am who I’m ever-becoming. I no longer worry about what transpired to get me here or where it might lead. I work more on being a better me each day and rebuilding all that lost self-worth.

      All my best,
      Brina

  5. Terri 5 months ago

    Thank you Brina for your article. What next ? Is something I have asked myself many times throughout my life. Everyone’s situation is different. What is good for you may not be good for me. Some much has changed in our community since I first put on my mother’s slip almost 60 years ago. Feeling completely alone for a long time was a reality for many of us. When I met my first sister crossdresser my life changed. For me Balance is my keyword for maintaining my sanity. Thank you again.
    Terri

  6. Lea 5 months ago

    Beautifully written and thought provoking!

    Now what? I also wonder that often. The more steps I take into the CD world, yet I still end up with Now What. How far to go, when to stop, what to risk, compulsive actions, Now What.

    I try to imagine a balanced life, just a masculine, hetero, loving, responsible, contributing, caring guy wearing women’s clothes and shoes. Then the Now What gets me to think about the risk of losing what I have, people, job, a place in the community. And the sad balance looks impossible.

    Now What is a reminder that we are free, but there those people and things that we care about, and every action has a potential reaction. It’s what gets us to control and discipline both sides of us.

    Thank you for sharing!

    • Author

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I’ve had all those same feelings and worries. Each of us has to walk their own path. It comes down to self-acceptance in both sides of our lives. What each side is willing to concede to the other to keep the balance. Would I swallow the blue pill like in the Matrix and be 100% woman the rest of my life without hurting those I care about? You bet. I’ve give the male side 56 years. What if I had to lose all those important relationships? Half of them, some of them? One? It matters.

      Brina

  7. Gracie 5 months ago

    I agree 100% i fight that battle on a daily basis. Ill love myself then i wont. Ill feel pride then shame. Confidence to fear and loneliness. In the end im starting to realize that its ok to just be me. No matter how I choose to present myself or dress that day ill always just be me at the end of the day and I’m finally ok with that…i think

    • Author

      Gracie Ann,

      I hear you! The hardest thing about being us…is being us. All the parts make one really special person, sometimes we get too lost in the stigma and forget to nourish the good. What I wear doesn’t define me, my kindness and compassion does.

      Brina

    • Amanda Patrick 4 months ago

      Hi Gracie Ann,

      I have a lot of those same feelings you are describing. I am feeling good about steps forward. and then I seem to sag. I do think some times its just part of being a human being to. Self esteem Fluctuates in all human Beings.

      Amanda.

      • Gracie 4 months ago

        Hi Amanda,
        I agree, sometimes its really difficult. Its nice to finally have ppl to talk to who know exactly how I feel. Ive always felt so alone till now. If you ever wanna chat feel free to send a msg. Thanks for responding
        G

  8. Jane 6 months ago

    OK–so now what—& might I add HOW?
    My whole life, I’ve fit in with women much better than men—From a young age I felt comfortable around them—So easy to talk with females-I know deep dark secrets of countless #s of women–Most -I don’t even remember their names or wich” secret” belongs to Whom—
    I’m really lucky—Through the yrs my wife helped(& gave me the confidence) to incorporate my crossdressing into our lovelife–
    now it’s to a point where she is Helping feminize me (just tiny B cup so far) —
    I have probably more fem clothes than Male clothes–
    However—I do have to be careful going out dressed—
    Laws protecting workers are really (except in Rare cases ) are only for the well off-
    I’m quite sure I’d be out of work (& basically unemployable) if my bosses found out–
    I have bills–Like a mortgage ect–Could not afford to be off work & pay lawyers to sue (probably would’nt get enough money to retire anyway)
    Now that we (wife & I) are comfortable with fem me–
    Society will Still not let us live as we choose–
    Maby in my kids life things will change-

  9. kaydee 6 months ago

    Hi Brina,
    thank you for sharing your story, mine is almost exactly the same as yours except I cant except my femme image its never good enough so I will have to borrow your expression so now what. I will have to think about that hun thank you for sharing you story huggs kate

  10. Author

    Janine,

    Thanks for the kind words! I think our phrases are the complete sentence. I say after self-discovery, “OK, now what?” and then like you ponder the possibilities of “What’s next,” as I get excited by the opportunities.

    Brina

  11. Janine 6 months ago

    Hi Brina
    What’s next is something that I’ve been asking myself since the first time that I tried on my sisters panties and bra while I was still in school.
    With each time I added something to that lifestyle I keep wanting to know What’s next.
    To my amazement there doesn’t seem to be any end to What’s next.
    Throughout the years I keep on finding different things that I had never thought that I’d be doing.
    From the first time that I tried on my sisters bra and panties until I started to go out in public looking passable it’s always been What’s next for me
    Thanks for the great article and making me realize that What’s next has been a constant part of what I’m doing always looking for the next thing that I can try
    Thanks for sharing your story with us and giving me a chance to reflect on my own life

  12. Kim Paige 6 months ago

    Thanks Brina! Very thoughtful insights into the cross roads in life that are particularly poignant for those on our shared journey of gender discovery!
    Kim

  13. Squeak 6 months ago

    So, now what? No matter where we are in life, no matter who we are, no matter who we think we are, that is always the question. But, the older we get, the more important the answer seems to be.

    So, try to be true to yourself. Sometimes others will set the rules and we have to find compromise. It is always so nice to find people who accept you as you are.

    I live in an area that is very accepting. It is so nice to be a crossdresser here!

  14. Great article Sabrina. I am certain that many others have asked themselves the same question. As I approach the end of my life, I look around at the world, then examine my past and think………..”Is that all there is?” Some things were good, a lot were bad and now that I have to dispose of my lifes, collection of things because there is no-one left to do it for me…I ask, what was it all about. So much time wasted in the army and working life and what did it contribute to make the world a better place? I guess it was that I made life a little easier and more comfortable for some people and I gave hugs when needed and some kisses when needed and some guidence to other lost souls.

    In the aspect of what do our lives mean in the face of the universe? We will be gone, all that we strived for will mean nothing. Let us enjoy what we have and love those we are with and above all…….Love Yourself and do what makes you happy!

    Lady Veronica

    • Author

      Nicely put!

      Brina

      • Simone 6 months ago

        Nice story bring I have walked a similar path beginning with nylons in childhood and getting into clothes n makeup as I grew older

  15. Samantha Storm 6 months ago

    Wonderful words. I spent a lifetime wondering why I felt disconnected from the average guy. Like you, as the love dissipated and the stress increased in my relationship, dressing was the only way I could deal. The unfortunate part is that when i opened up to her about everything it became just one more way to control me. A year has passed since we separated and i have come to terms with who I am. 2018 is a new year and samantha is a part of me and will never be denied again.

  16. Terrisa Washbourne 6 months ago

    Great article Brina. The point of finally embracing yourself as a whole should not be washed out by asking “Now what?” Because now you should live and the consequences in the end will seem no different than any other life struggle. It is not out of blindness that I say it but it was the way I lived at one time and what a happy time it was. Hugs – Terrisa

  17. Ina E 6 months ago

    This is a huge question, I’m willing to accept myself for the time ever but what is the next step?

  18. Sandy D 6 months ago

    Really nice and thoughtful article Brina which I enjoyed reading immensely. and I can relate to much of what you say. For me the perennial question was/is ‘Why do I do this?’, not through any sense of shame but simply to better understand it and maybe even how to get more from it. But I have never found a good answer.

    So I have got to the stage in life where I simply accept Sandy. She’s not going to go away and nor do I want her to. Like you Brina, I think Sandy makes me a better person and furthermore, she gives me an added dimension, an added colour to my life that most other men don’t have and probably cannot imagine. I love my life as a crossdresser and wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Thank you Brina. Any well written piece that makes you think is a treasure and your article ticks all those boxes. I look forward to reading more.

    Sandy x

    • Author

      I’ve tried to make it a part of my writing to help others…and myself see their lives more positively, rather than as cursed. We are all at different stages with one common trait–we have a connection to femininity. It goes beyond the basics of loving women and exposes itself in varying ways from fetish to transgenderism. I adore the internet today and being able to connect with so many others going through this same process and search for understanding that I am. I wish I had the internet 40 years ago, my life would have been easier…(no, probably not,) but I would have been better prepared to be me…

      • Katie 6 months ago

        I’m so glad for you Brina.I wish I was as brave as you.I secretly dress when my wife’s away but I yearn for the day I can become Katie all the time maybe even get the op.But I’m married and I told my wife one time I wd like to crossdress and while she didn’t crack up and throw me out she just has never spoke about it again

  19. Leonara 6 months ago

    Sabrina,
    What a well thought out article you provided for everyone to ponder for 2018. I am in that category… “ok , so now what”. To help me balance my alter egos, my Counselor has been very helpful… and I recommend it ..
    Sabrina , you have a gift of the written word and I thank you…
    Leonara

  20. Patricia Mills 6 months ago

    Like Brina, everyday brings more questions. This article is encouraging, but also gives me more questions. Now I start to wonder if the gender question was buried so deep, that other issues are a result of that. I know that starting to crossdress, and then making the decision to go out as often as possible, had led to researching transformation. I feel better for it and with the help of my loving wife will be able to move forward.

    • I to feel that the lo of my life my wife has ch chosen to stick with me through the hard times it’s absolutely ridiculous how many pairs of pantyhose going to go through in a week but she gets bringing once all the time free wipes by your pantyhose to wear so you’re comfortable I just got to say something for person’s character

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