I have vivid memories of playing the card game “B.S.” with my family as we took our first trip together around Europe. I was 9 years old, my brothers 14 and 16, and my parents- well- are always young at heart. We stayed at many hostels on our 2 week voyage, but almost without fail, we played “B.S.” every single night before we would fall asleep in our bunk beds, as we dreamed in these new foreign lands.
To play the game “B.S”, you essentially are guessing when someone is lying about the cards they put down. This game taught me to call out bullshit at 9 years old and it is through this family friendly game that I learned a valuable life lesson- not only how to catch someone when they’re lying- but how to call bullshit when you see it, even in regards to my own life.
More recently, I have called B.S. on myself in regards to actually following my childhood dream: I want to be an author. Which if I am to take away that bullshit lens of “want”- it should sound something more like this- I will be an author. Or even; I am a writer.
This has been the dream of my life time- but it has always felt unattainable- it has the same taste as, “I want to be an actress” or “I want to be a musician”- we are told that only the top .1% actually make it… so how do I beat the other 99.9%?
I am learning that achievement has nothing to do with beating others and everything to do with surprising yourself.
I have been writing pages upon pages for as long as I can remember. Some I am partially proud of, some I look back on and cringe. In elementary school I would come home after school and write fictional stories about made up lands and people. In middle school, I would write in my journal about everything happening in my life, can you say #teenangst?! In high school, I would write letters, poetry, and more short stories. (Sorry to all of my high school boyfriends- y’all got a lot of hand written notes). I was the kid who enjoyed writing essays- which *might* have had some influence in why I am now a middle school English teacher?
In college I started writing my first book. But I shared this work with no one. It took me a year to even tell my parents about my first book idea.
So how was it that I latched on to my dream of all dreams, but accepted the fact that I wasn’t actually taking any steps towards this dream?
In the modern days of technology and social media- I was following many blogs and accounts of great writers- and I finally had the idea of, “Why NOT me?” I know my writing will not be for everyone. There will always be that annoying and incorrect voice whispering, “You aren’t good enough.” But in the modern times of self love- I am realizing that I am enough… for me.
With this revelation, my bullshit speedometer finally rang a bell. I needed to take these small baby steps forward if I am ever to actualize my lifelong dream of being published. Sure, words are relatable, but I am not writing for others. I am writing to take my inner stories, thoughts, pains, and prides- and put them down into a concrete form of art.
I am sharing my writing with my biggest enemy and harshest critic: myself.
THAT is the ultimate bullshit detector- looking fear in the eyes, and smiling like the devil, as you take a few small steps towards the rest of your honest and true life.
So at 26 years old, here is my “How To Detect Your Own Bullshit” list in order to live a NO BULL life.
Ready to play a game of personal “B.S”?
- Pay attention to what actually feels good in your life. If something isn’t sitting well, and it hasn’t felt good in a long time, you are the only one in charge of making change. No one else can do it for you. Pay attention and adjust accordingly.
- Make a list of all the things that bring you joy. And pain. And confusion. Really pay attention to the things and people that make you truly FEEL something. Then make a list of what your typical day looks like. Compare the lists and adjust accordingly.
- Ask yourself if what you’re doing today is creating peace in your life or creating chaos. That isn’t to say we should all be living a peaceful and blissful life 24/7, we do in fact grow within chaos, but it’s a classic case of, “do the pro’s out-weight the cons?” Ask yourself some hard questions and adjust accordingly.
- Take a hard look at your inner circle. It could be friends, family, partners, pets- are there any relationships in your life that are truly causing more harm than good? This is hard to do, especially when love is involved. But if you spend more time thinking about all the stress someone or something is causing in your life, more than how much you love and appreciate this person or thing- it might be time to take out the big ol’ imaginary scissors. Cut ties and adjust accordingly!
- Ask yourself if you are doing things for others approval or are you doing something for you? There are some things we will need to do for others, but I am talking about your passions. Your passions should be for you- and no one else. You are allowed to be selfish, when it comes to following your dreams. I encourage you to strip away that judgmental side of you that seeks approval and acceptance from others. Take a moment to pause and adjust accordingly.
I don’t believe anything to be fool proof. I am also no life coach or therapist or saying that there is a one size fits all, but these 5 steps have helped me actualize my first baby steps towards living a life that I am creating and not a life where I am sitting on the sidelines.
This list is just the start, a catapult. It will take honesty and vulnerability to push yourself to this point of clarity. But just as we might learn at a young age how to call someone on their bluff- I think it’s time you dive into playing a game of “B.S” with the most stubborn player you will ever encounter; yourself.
Happy playing- it’s a noble game.