Falling In Love With A Spark And A Promise

Derek Key
Derek Key

It begins with a spark.

A scattered glimpse like the brief recollection of a hazy dream. It’s a world comprised of flashing headlights on the walls of your room as the world slides past in a circus-inspired blur. It’s a promise that’s destined to be broken; a promise of something possible but as distant as the nearest star and just as unattainable. It’s pure and clear and perfect and completely unrealistic. It’s a detached ‘maybe’ that is little more than a siren song luring you into deep and uncharted waters.

The spark has less to do with a person and more to do with an idea, a concept. It’s a fever dream that scorches through you and burns you up from the inside out, but all it really is — when everything is ashes and embers — is a reflection of something inside of you, something you’re searching for that you can’t quite name. Something you can’t quite catch hold of. It keeps you chasing after the promise of more, of better until you can barely stand, until you can barely remember what made you start running in the first place.

The drive stems from an emptiness that we’re all born with, an emptiness that drives us forward, that begs for fulfillment. The Emptiness keeps you awake at night, choked up and frozen in the darkness with fear of loneliness and failure like blankets smothering you and weighing you down, but it also keeps you from giving up. It also whispers that if you just keep going, if you just keep working and trying and searching, you’ll find it (whatever it is). This hallow yearning sells you things and experiences and ensures you that this is it, that this is the one thing you need to fill those crevices and stop the endless wanting.

But there is always one more thing, one more step to take, and one more rung on the ladder to climb. It is never enough. Somehow you know that it will never be enough.

This same empty voice takes that spark and that loaded promise and tells you to chase it, to stake your entire life on it — on the possibility of a maybe. It wants you to follow that siren song into the darkness and ignore the fact that you’re drowning. You chase those brief flashes of light to illuminate the darkness within you, but nothing ever keeps you warm for long, nothing ever truly keeps the darkness at bay.

Years will pass and the emptiness will only grow and fester, leaking into every sunny day and happy moment. You’re hungry and rabid and shuffling through people like a battered deck of cards, selecting a shiny few at random, overcome by a desperate need. Who knows how many hearts you’ll break, how many strokes of the knife you’ll inflict upon yourself and others before you finally, finally get it. Before you finally understand. It was never about them. It was never who they were or weren’t, it was never more than your expectations and the unfounded ideals you unloaded on your unsuspecting victims.
It was always, always about you.

It begins with a spark, a supernova in the night, short and brilliant and inspiring, but it’s gone before you can really comprehend what you’ve seen. Yes, yes — it begins with a spark but it ends with a match that you have to light, that you have to drag across rough surfaces and long days and hard choices and painful sacrifices. You have to start the fire and feed the flames one day at a time, no one can do it for you. No one can give more than they are. Don’t chase the sparks in others — tend the flames inside yourself, burn brighter and fill that emptiness and stop believing someone else is going to do it for you. TC mark

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