Jun '11

Balls not required

I still have the final 3 episodes of Oprah on my DVR.

I started to watch the star-studded episode and was so thrilled to see Madonna come out on stage.

Considering all this woman has accomplished in her own right, I found it moving that she admired Oprah. I hung on every word until she said of Oprah, “You’ve got balls.”

What the f***?

I HATE that phrase.

I HATE that it implies that having balls somehow makes you more courageous, gutsy, heroic.


And I hate even more that women use the phrase all too often.

What it says to me is that women are somehow inadequate, less than, weak, unless they, well… are more like a MAN (parts and all).

Here’s what I know:

It doesn’t require balls to make the decision to carry a child in your womb. A decision, by the way, that could very well cost you your life.

It doesn’t require balls to terminate a pregnancy either. Facing the truth that for whatever reason, you cannot bring a child into this world has to be one of the most heart-wrenching decisions a person could face.

It doesn’t require balls to say, “I love you” first. (Love doesn’t keep score)

It doesn’t require balls to say, “I love you” to someone who will never say it back. N-E-V-E-R.

It doesn’t require balls to stand back and watch your children fall down, endure heartache, disappointment or failure. Giving them the space to learn and grow hurts like hell.

It doesn’t require balls to let your children go out into the world. Yes, that too, hurts like hell.

It doesn’t require balls to take your own mother off life support. Even though you would do anything to keep her in this world and you have no idea how you will ever go on without her, she trusted you with that decision. And that trust didn’t require balls either.

It doesn’t require balls to stay in a job you hate or to leave it either. Only you know what’s best for you.

It doesn’t require balls to look a homeless person in the eye and recognize your shared humanity.

Courage, tenacity, fearlessness, bad-assness, boldness, fierceness are not functions of body parts or testosterone, people.

It’s about HEART.

You’ve got one.

So do I.

What are you going to do to expand your heart today?

To open it so wide, you swear you just might die.

To risk being seen, laughed at, hurt, humiliated, rejected OR dare I say, ACCEPTED.

For. Who. You. Are.

I promise you, balls are not required.


31 Responses to “Balls not required”

  1. @FrankDickinson Says:

    You put away the toy guns and pulled out the rocket launcher on this one my friend…

    …and you scored a direct hit! Put a fork in it – it's D.O.N.E.

    I have always thought it was friggin' weird when women would use the "balls" phrase. WTF? Gender aside, it doesn't take testosterone to step out into the deep, scary abyss – it takes, as you so perfectly put it heart.

    Enough about that. Score one for the Brady.

    You asked a question. By god I'm going to answer it.

    Yep – scared shitless to do so, but here's my answer to: What are you going to do to expand your heart today?

    Lisa, since I finished with Block this season my heart has been so full of the crazy, scary, exciting, questioned laden process of taking myself and my business to the next level. I know that sounds like a buzz phrase Taking it to the next level", but you know me, I'm not playing coy and fronting any game type shit – I'm talking about rip your nervous system out of your body kind of a process that has come from somewhere beyond me – bigger than me – given to me to make happen.

    And I'm fucking going to do it. One way or another this thing is going to be born into the light of day. It is coming soon.

    How am I going to expand my heart today – I'm riding the tide of the process of creativity.

    It's scary as hell.

    It is taking all the courage that I have.

    I am determined.

    My heart is full.

    I knew I could share it here – because I have always felt supported in this place.

    Thank you for that my friend.


  2. LisaMilesBrady Says:

    To quote my girl TexintheCity, "Woo to effin Hoo!"

    Frank D–I love you. For so many reasons, I stopped keeping a list. 😉

    Seriously, what totally rocks my world about your response is I know the WHY behind wanting to give birth to those friggin' big, scary-as-hell dreams for yourself and your business.

    It's LOVE, baby. LOVE for that beautiful wife of yours. For that family you adore. And for the people you long to serve.

    Your heart is full of LOVE.

    And I knew it the first time I encountered you online.

    I'm honored that you answered the question in such a bold way. I wish I could convey how much it means to me to know that here, you feel safe to share what's in your heart. Always.

    Yes, I love you. And whatever I can do to support you in takin' it to a whole 'notha level :), just ASK.


  3. @FrankDickinson Says:

    I do feel safe here Lisa – I have always felt that way with you and your community.


  4. MojoTabbyJuJu Says:

    Lisa, love the post.. and please accept my reply to Frank with all the PC I can muster.

    Frank, all I can say is a quote from Jerry Maguire, "That's how you become great, man. Hang your balls out there!"

    Lisa, I do agree with everything you have stated. I am guilty of saying something maybe "ballsy"…. I never thought of the degradation of/to women the phrase is. Thank you for opening my eyes to a careless insensitive use of my words. My intent is never to use my words as weapons of mass destruction. Well, not anymore. I use to be very pointed with my words. Thank goodness I learned quite a few lessons along this path of life.
    And today, another lesson learned.

    on a side note, I am so dang excited for this weekend. Temps in the 70's.. hallelujah sweet child o' mine!!
    Enjoy the weekend…
    My recent post The People I’ve Slept With 2009

  5. LisaMilesBrady Says:

    Hello Beautiful Lady!

    You honor me (always) with your presence and support.

    I, too, have used the phrase. More than I care to admit. And because I'm an empath, I have used words as WMDs because I could never beat anyone up, but I knew what words would cut them to the bone. I am grateful that I have lived long enough to change my ways.

    Lately I've become more sensitive to the cultural war on women and how we as women even contribute to it. The way we call each other names, the way we say to our sons and daughters that crying is for "sissies", etc. Our words have power and if you stop and really listen to certain phrases, you become very aware that so much of what is considered "feminine" is seen as "less than." That BS has to change and it starts with me.

    And let me just echo that HALLELUJAH! It's been hotter than hades this week and I will be praising the goddess for 70 degree weather! 🙂

    Love & hugs to you, RA!

    P.S. I LOVE your blog. I promise to stop by more regularly.

  6. @FrankDickinson Says:

    swingin' in the wind!


  7. LisaMilesBrady Says:

    You two are a piece of work. 🙂

    Just don't take pictures. LOL

  8. LaVonne Ellis Says:

    I don't think I've used the phrase, but I'm guilty of feeling flattered when people used it to 'compliment' me. And they mean it as a huge compliment, so of course it feels good, but then kinda weird. Yes, 'heart' is much better.

    And may I say I've missed you? I don't know which one of us hasn't been on Twitter as much, but I need a better way of keeping track of the people I love!

  9. LisaMilesBrady Says:

    I remember being flattered by it as well. I took it to mean, "gutsy" or "courageous" but now I see something else in the phrase. I think the more we grow and evolve, things that used to fit just don't any more. This is one of the many things I see differently now that I'm asking to be more aware.

    I have you missed you too, LaVonne. You've really been flying lately. I have been scarce here, there and Twitter too. Lots going on and energy must be conserved. But the love is always there. 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing. Always love connecting with you.


  10. Eloiza Jorge Says:

    love this from my sister Lisa Miles Brady! xoxo

  11. Lori I Paquette Says:

    love this from my sister Lisa Miles Brady! xoxo

  12. Lois Creamer Says:

    Required reading! RT @FrankDickinson: TRUTH from my powerful friend @LisaMilesBrady: Balls not required

  13. Carol Hess Says:

    Thank you, Lisa, for posing the question I need to answer. Thank you, Frank, for breaking the ice and answering the question first. Makes it easier for me to take the plunge. (Diving into icy water as a metaphor for answering a question about my heart? Really, Carol? Now that's a sure sign that it's back to the therapist's couch for you!)

    What am I going to do to expand my heart today? I'M GOING TO START WRITING MY BOOK!!! (Yeah, I know caps are rude, but I'm SO excited.) Actually the exciting part is I'm going to write the book I WANT to write instead of what I think I "should" write. And I'm going to be vulnerable and write from my heart and tell my version of the truth, and that's all really, really scary. And really, really what I want to do.

    My recent post Does Your Star Need Polishing

  14. LisaMilesBrady Says:

    So damned proud of you, Carol!

    Thank you for letting us bear witness to your bold declaration.

    WRITE on!


  15. Carol Hess Says:

    #2 Comment — Apparently I'm too wordy!

    Thank you for the post, dear Lisa. It made me wonder why I avoid the eyes of the homeless person — because I do. I think it's because I feel so damned guilty that she/he is homeless in the wealthiest nation on the planet and I'm doing nothing about it. And it's also because I find it so damned uncomfortable to look that much pain in the eyes — mine or hers.

    Keep on changing the world (and me), one post at a time, Lisa.
    My recent post Does Your Star Need Polishing

  16. LisaMilesBrady Says:

    It's a really scary thing to do, Carol. I feel guilty for not doing more to prevent homelessness, etc. But I can't change all that in this moment. So what can I give him/her? The same respect I'd want in their shoes. To be seen. To be acknowledged. If I can't give any $ or food, at least I can offer a smile.

    As far as looking at my own pain, writing allows me to do that better than anything I've ever tried.

    Thanks so much for sharing!


  17. Alyson Earl Says:

    @LisaMilesBrady Love this! Great way to start the day: Thank you, Lisa!

  18. Frank Dickinson Says:

    It's from @LisaMilesBrady, that should say it all ->Balls not required:

  19. David Burch Says:

    RT @FrankDickinson It's from @LisaMilesBrady, that should say it all ->Balls not required:

  20. Alisha Says:

    Yes, yes, yes! We must be careful of the words we choose…that we so easily give away our power and demean ourselves as women by using this language that on the surface seems innocent but it packed with meaning.
    My recent post I Cannot Contain My Dreams Until Tomorrow

  21. LisaMilesBrady Says:


    I love the way you put it…"on the surface (it) seems innocent but it is packed with meaning."


    I think I realize as I've been going thru the comments is that we all are somehow tied to the stereotype of the submissive woman in need of rescue. When you step outside the social construct, like Oprah, and take a stand or create a media empire or ???, people have to couch it in such a way that keeps the stereotype in place. An assertive woman has BALLS. A man capable of sharing emotion is a "wuss" (in other words, WEAK like a WOMAN).

    It takes some work to really accept each other's differences. To accept that how you express yourself does not have to look like anyone else.

  22. Aamer Iqbal Says:

    RT @LisaMilesBrady: Balls not required

  23. Daniel L. Says:

    "You've got balls" is such a strong words indeed. Maybe people often associated the words to being more courageous and more manly when they accomplished something. I like the insights that you provided that one shouldn't need balls to do a lot of things. I think it is good that women feel empowered on their own rather than thinking they've got balls.
    My recent post Tableau des méthodes pour gagner sur internet

  24. LisaMilesBrady Says:

    Welcome, Daniel!

    I agree. They are strong words and words I used to see as a "compliment." But the more I observe the ways in which popular culture (in America) "defines" certain behavior as masculine or feminine, the more I see that women are often "less than". Men are socialized to be bold, daring, even aggressive (BIG balls!) while women are socialized to be demure and in need of "rescue."

    I hope that we all become a little more aware of the words we use and the messages that we are sending.

    Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing, Daniel!

  25. Peter Crowell Says:

    I have balls.

    But I've never considered them to be the source of my courage.

    I've done some pretty gutless things and my testicles were no help at all.

    Funny how they lose their cache when you call them testicles.

    I think backbone is a better anatomical analogy for courage.

    Heart works, too.

    Balls are no replacement for spine.

    Great post. It made me a little afraid of you. In a good way.

    : )
    My recent post How awesome is born

  26. LisaMilesBrady Says:

    Welcome, Peter!

    Yes, "you've got testicles" wouldn't probably catch on. How dare we actually use the real names of our body parts in polite company. 🙂

    Your comments have me thinking about spine, courage and all the other ways we stand in judgment of other people's actions. Did the guys who left the country in protest of the war in Vietnam or Iraq have any less courage than those who went? I think it's a matter of perspective. But most people don't see it that way. I find it just as brave to stand up for what you believe in when it's contrary to the "mainstream". I think it's pretty damn courageous to be openly gay, or atheist, or a black woman with an opinion. 😉

    Most people wouldn't agree.

    Don't be afraid. I don't bite (hard). Seriously, we'll have to talk about that sometimes. You are not the first man who has said that to me and I'm curious why you feel that way.

    Hope you'll come back to the blog from time to time. And thank YOU for taking the time and having the HEART to share.

  27. Peggie Arvidson Says:

    Balls not required – I heart this and this blogger!

  28. Shelly Says:

    WOW – I don't what prompted this – and I – like others never really took that as a derogatory statement against women – but I do now – I love this!!! 🙂
    My recent post Too Cute..

  29. LisaMilesBrady Says:


    It's one of those things that has been bothering for awhile and when Madonna said it, I just finally had to write about it. I had used the phrase before (LOTS) even insulting a man or two with "Grow some." Sad, but true.

    For some reason I have become more sensitive to the words and phrases we use. That video you shared called "Pretty" set something off in me and with a 20 y/o daughter about to go off on her own, I think about all the ways she'll be perceived simply because she is female.

    Always good to have you stop by. 🙂 Thanks for taking the time.


  30. Lea G Says:

    Hey I know we come across so many different stages of life and we cant escape them I feel stress needs to be handled very well to control the adverse from it. Meditation and stronger will power will help in maintaining this and over come the stress. But though this is a very inspirational experience.