Every star, dim and bright, burns out eventually.

“Men count their lives in days, Dwarves in decades and Elves in centuries. It is, perhaps, this briefness of man’s light, that he chooses to act so foolishly, to burn so very bright.” – R.A. Salvatore.

I am a biological time bomb with madness my destination. I possess the genetic markers for addiction, sickle cell, high-risk thrill seeking behavior, dementia and Alzheimer’s. Its not a matter of if so much as when. I lost my father’s mother when I was 16 to Alzheimer’s but before that I watched her dissolve from the strong, vibrant, violent, foul-mouthed, hard drinking, loud cussin, pistolero who called me a “lil muthafucka’ for not giving her a kiss, to a traumatized 6 year old trapped in a fragile dying body. I WATCHED someone I once saw as invincible be reduced so far there was only relief when she finally died. Fucked up, right?

My cousin lived with us for awhile after falling out with his roommates. Three years my junior, he saw me as a possible future, one he wasn’t uncomfortable with coming true. The madness hit him young. He went for a walk one Wednesday and we heard nothing for 2 weeks. He returned to our lives when at 3 in the morning the city and military police banged on the door, dragged me outside, put me in handcuffs, my family in an ambulance and told me he had called and said I was ‘holding a family hostage and had wired the house to blow up if any rescue was attempted.’ They searched the house, cleared out the neighbors for three houses on both sides, and, with my military training, after going through my service record, considered me a credible and lethal threat. There was questioning, I was questioned, wife was questioned, neighbors were questioned, all on the porch of our home and it was September in Alexandria, Virginia. (That means fucking cold!)

This is in me, hiding in my genes, growing strong enough to one day conquer the only thing that makes me, me; my mind. I can hear the clock ticking when I sleep.

This is why I fight, why I drive, why I push so hard for things most see as inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. But there are no big things, only little things in groups. So I attack the little things with psychotic ferocity. This is not who I happen to be. My state of mind and way of being is not the end result of life’s random challenges. I made this me. I tore myself down and put myself back together brick by blackened brick. I am my own Shefa. This will not change.

My friends and family, who are few and loved deeply, warn me, they caution me; ‘relax, slow down, you’ll kill yourself.’ I have never called them wrong. But I was born with a keen mind, a nurturing nuclear family and a stubborn streak bordering on clinical psychosis – not to mention unreasonable levels of self condense. (arrogant smile emoji) I feel it it the duty of the gifted to do what others cannot. I could burn my time acquiring wealth I cant take with me while ignoring the things that will matter long after I’m gone; who I helped, how I loved, the joy I leave my children.

I was a shy child. I was assertively challenged. I was the weird, somewhat effeminate, namesake of a man who made a living traveling the world fighting fighters he himself didn’t think he could beat. There were some speed bumps. Then I decided to be my own king instead of the prince so many others wanted me to be. And so I remain. Crown intact.

I will not stop. I will not slow. I will not ever give up, quite, or any other synonym in that vein. I appreciate the concern. I recognize the love, I do, truly. Now, you, recognize this: I could be a moon for 100 years, I’d rather be a star for 10.

-Sunrise, Chimera

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