I’ve always been very pale. Unfortunately for me, I was not gifted with the perpetually golden glow typically associated with my Italian heritage. In my experience though, it’s the vaguely olive undertones of my complexion that really matter.
Like anyone, I’ve had more than my fair share of bumps and bruises, scabs and skinned knees. Most of the time, my skin will piece itself back together and seal seamlessly back into place, but every now and again, I’m left with a scar—a dark patch on the back of my hip, a jagged line running down my shin.
What I’ve found though is that even the most persistent of mistakes can often fade into the olive nuances of my skin. Over time, they slowly but surely become nearly imperceptible to the unsuspecting eye.
Over the years, I’ve seen many scars come and go. To their credit, many of the marks were persistent, sticking around for months and even years to the point that I had nearly reconciled them as a part of myself. Then, one day, I’d look at my wrist or my toes or my elbow and realize that the marks were missing, that they had somehow faded into my skin.
So as I stand here, a millennial on the cusp of maturity, I realize the importance of embracing the olive tones in my personality. I understand that even some of the most persistent of scars in our lives can fade away. Perhaps even more importantly, these vestiges of hard times gone by don’t disappear before your eyes—they disappear in the moments when you are not watching. They disappear when you stop trying to cover them up with concealer or insist on wearing knee-highs to cover the scars. They are left out in the open, visible and vulnerable, but they are not a focus.
In a world fueled by social media statuses and internet shares, dwelling on our past is an ever-present practice. We retweet quotes about personal pain and scroll through old photos good times long lost.
Consequently, we often frame our stories in terms of the pain of our pasts. We recount the bullies from school, the tragedies we’ve witnessed, the trouble we’ve gotten into. The stories we tell ourselves about ourselves are shaped mostly by the negative, the things we feel we’ve had to endure.
In good time, though, those negative narratives we tell ourselves can begin to slip away into the olive tones of our personality. Those things did happen to us, and they will never leave us—we were still betrayed and bullied, hurt and left behind—but they are not what stands out about us.
Instead of seeing us ourselves people marred by scars, we can be seen as complete and unbroken. There will always be hints of life’s cuts, scrapes, and bruises, but we move forward knowing that there is more to us than the pain of our pasts. Our scars will fade.