When I was younger, I had a spark in me. I've been thinking about those times a lot lately.
Like how I had the biggest imagination. I would play dress up, have imaginary friends, and talk to basketballs instead of actually playing basketball. (I have footage of this.)
Or how I was never afraid to make decisions. I didn't think too much or talk myself out of things. When I wanted to do something, I just did it. Responsibilities and consequences were not an issue.
Or how I ran for school secretary when I was in sixth grade and no one thought I was going to win because I was the quiet, weird girl. Then my mom helped me run a kick-ass campaign, complete with adorable posters and a beautiful speech, which I delivered in front of the entire student body. And then all the people who thought I was going to lose were clapping when I won.
I used to sing. I didn't have a great voice (unless I was singing along with a CD) and I never had any professional training. But I sang anyway.
I used to dance. I didn't have many friends in my dance class and I was a slow learner. But I danced anyway.
I used to act. I got cut at many auditions and got so nervous in my acting class one time that I started crying. But I acted anyway.
I used to play piano. I could never quite get my fingers in the right formation and reading sheet music was about as easy as reading Sanskrit. But I played anyway.
I did all of the above imperfectly, but beautifully. Whenever I did something that made my soul open up, it didn't matter if I did it as well as everyone else. I just did what I wanted, when I wanted, and how I wanted.
I guess you could say I was sort of fearless. The spark that lived inside of me burned through my veins day in and day out. Looking back, I think I really underestimated the value of it.
And now I'm not really sure where it is.
One day, I started to grow up. My big dreams were looked at as silly aspirations. Having a big imagination wasn't cool anymore. I got too wrapped up in everything I thought I was supposed to be doing to focus on what I wanted to be doing. People had expectations that made me feel like I never quite measured up...Like I was always ten steps behind everyone else.
And feeling important and worthy enough became the sole purpose of my life. Trying to please everyone else all while ignoring that spark I've had since birth ultimately led to complete self-destruction.
And then the spark was gone. The spark wanted no part of this self-destruction. Fear, uncertainty, angst, and emptiness replaced that spark.
I've been trying to get it back since the day I decided I wanted to be a writer. It pays me brief visits every now and then to feed my soul with a few drops of inspiration and motivation, but it has yet to stay with me like it did when I was younger.
Maybe the spark has been with me all along. Maybe it has just been hiding from the storm.
Maybe one day I'll be able to bring it to life again and nurture it the way I should have all along.
After all the damage I've done to myself, I owe it that much.