Resolution: “Happiness can only be found from a foundation of absolutes.”

Life is a composition of a nonnegotiable “this” or “that”, prospering in an environment with little tolerance for the range of gray defying the comfortable concept of absolutes. To be a happy person means to embody the standards produced from traditional, unassailable values.

The enervation in my momma’s eyes defends this statement. “My child,” my momma told me in her native tongue, “There is only one route to a lifetime of happiness, and there is only one detour leading to future of dissatisfaction and emptiness.”

The determination in her words destroyed the “if’s” and “but’s” I itched to voice and forced me to accept the absolutes the world presented me.

But this philosophy has brought me more pain than it has ease. I know that for sure.

I was fourteen when I realized the white sheets no longer covered my feet and found my mouth twisting with distress and wonder. The world had taught me there was only one right way to view yourself, and, as I anxiously tried to stretch the sheet to cover my toes, I questioned why I had the gall to be surprised my body had matured, even though my mind had not done the same.

I was fifteen when I broke a window in my apartment and was forced to sleep in a room infesting with an unfamiliar breeze. At the time, I thought it was rather strange there’s a world outside from my pad-locked room.

I was sixteen and nine months when I looked at myself in the mirror and finally saw something of my own. It was a girl made from patches of fabric, sewn with every color available to my imagination and utterly, completely devoid of absolutes. When I looked around me, the world became a kaleidoscope of opportunities, perspectives, and thoughts, glowing in hues I had never seen before.

When I turned seventeen, I composed a novel detailing the past, present, and future. In it, I showed fourteen-year-old me that success does not have to be composed from perfectionism, wrote my fifteen- year-old self a chance for happiness, and with the last drops of my ink, I told a secret to the girl I was a year ago.

I told her: our decisions are our own, whether they fall into the accepted standards of happiness or not.

You might nor understand this now, she would hear, but acceptance of this foreign concept will soon come to us, arriving unknowingly, like the distant emotions from forgotten dreams, slowly like the rise of the corner bakery’s bread, and suddenly altogether like the water from an open shower head, awakening you with the chill of the early morning. You’ll see one day; absolutes are not meant for you.

Resolution (revised): Life is a composition of amendable, diversified choices, and my future is a series of drafts left up only to me to examine, change, and accept.