I’m in a new place, and in many ways I have to start over. I need to find work. Friends. A sense of belonging. I was lying on the floor (sort of doing yoga) thinking about how to get myself some work, how to get myself out there, and I had the body sensation that I needed to grow some balls.
Mind you, I have never agreed with Freud’s theory of penis envy. I never, ever, ever wished I had one of those things dangling out in front of my pelvis. It seemed like a design flaw. Balls, by proxy, were in the same box. The box of no thank you. I like what I got. It’s secretive. Mine. I don’t have to get special gear when I run or do sports to protect my nether parts. What I have seems to make so much more sense than the other package option.
Feel free to argue. I get it. I wouldn’t be here on this planet if both male parts and female parts were not available, and I still lose my breath when I see Michelangelo’s David in all his rooted glory. My point is that I have not at any time in my life wanted a set of balls.
But I’ve decided to get some now.
I watched BrenéBrown’s talk on Netflix the other day, and I appreciated the connection she made between vulnerability and courage. I have read all her books, and much of her talk was made of stories and facts she has written about previously, but I am one of those people who needs to hear the same thing many times in different ways for it to really sink in. What I heard this time was that to really go for what you want calls for courage that is built on the willingness to be vulnerable.
Right now, I think I hate vulnerability. I also think I hate courage.
I want to be the captain of the ship, hands tight on the wheel, back rigid, legs planted. I want to be, if I really look at it, more of a tree or a mountain than a human. Being a person is so hard. I fell on my butt a week before I moved from California to Massachusetts and my body suddenly owned me in a whole new way. Want to walk? No. Want to sleep? No. Want to feel happy? No. Want to live in fear and anxiety. Hey, Little Sister! You got it.
Granted, I fell and so there were physical reasons for me to be in pain, but if I take a broader view, the pain that had my back and butt and legs in its clutches was also a way for the jagged fear I was feeling about moving and being more than a 90-minute drive from my daughter to be externally expressed. My brain was crying, and since my face wasn’t, my body fell, and now the pain I had been carrying inside was showing itself on the outside. I was so vulnerable. Every step felt like crying. I felt like a 90-year-old version of myself.
Being 90 years old, I rested a lot. I did close to nothing for days on end. I saw that my back pain was a doorway for feelings that were too big for my brain or nervous system as they were to process in a healthy manner. I was being called to vulnerability whether I wanted to visit that country or not. The end result was that I got to feel. I got to rest. Friends came to help me. Life slowed down because I couldn’t run around, diverting my attention from the anxiety I was carrying inside, and life got sweeter even though it hurt. I could sense the tube of myself stretching, my ability to experience feeling and thoughts widening. I imagined what a flower felt like when it bloomed to the sun. The ache of the opening. The mixture of pleasure and pain involved in growth.
So now let’s get back to balls.
I want to promote myself in my new neighborhood as a writing coach. This means I have to figure out how to advertise myself and my work. I’d rather eat straw. I’d rather roll up into the fetal position and skip lunch. This will not get me to the type of life I want to live. I have never dreamed about growing up to be a starving fetus. I love helping people express themselves through writing, and just as you bait your hook to catch a fish, I have to have the courage to bait my hook and throw it into the water.
I want to grow some balls.
Instead of keeping my desires and dreams private, my hopes for myself and my future tucked into the depths of a pocket, I want to hang them out there like a shingle outside of a house, like…wait for it…balls.
The thing about being public about my wants and desires means that other people can see if I fail. (According to Brené Brown, it’s not an if I fail: it’s when.) Other people can see me trying.
I want to stay secret. I don’t want to look like I care. Like I have wants. Like I have needs. I want to be a seed instead of a plant.
Is this true?
Come on. Don’t be such a baby.
Okay. It’s not true. I want to be big. I want to be fearless. I want to go for it and see what this body and this mind can do in this life. I want to figure out how to live my best life possible so I can share what I learn with others.
I want some balls. I want to have the courage to carry my vulnerability out in front of me. I want to (okay, I’m googling “what to male balls do” just so I can be specific not). Testicles, to get formal now, make and store sperm and produce testosterone. Yeah, okay. I don’t really want to make those things, so I want female balls. I want sacks that produce wild love and wild courage. I want wild balls.
I’ll go make a flyer now advertising myself as a writing coach. I’ll put my picture on it. My phone number. Even though just writing this makes me want to puke.
I’ve got balls. I can feel them down there, pulling me deeper into life. My balls know fear is the invitation to wild courage, wild life.
This is going to be interesting.