I don’t like snakes at all. I mean, I leave them to their own business, don’t bother them, even thought I see them at times around my house. But, nothing personal, snakes, just don’t have a high level of comfort around them. However, I know one trait that is a reptile “thing”, and I really find it intriquing. The shedding of the skin.
I don’t know a lot about the actual process of a snake shedding its skin, although I know that they do it pretty regularly, and leave it behind. This has led my mind to various wanderings about humans, and our need, or our resistance at times, to shedding our skin.
We may be shedding a skin of a behavior or response to our life that has been effective in the past, but is not so anymore. For example, to cope in the past, I have drank to excess, eaten compulsively, shopped unnecessarily……..those behaviors, in the past have been effective, albeit not the best choices, but worked at the time temporarily to intervene with an emotional struggle of some sort. When I was ready, I shed the skin of those coping behaviors, and let my newer, more effective skin emerge. What a relief! No more negative effects from negative coping strategies. The new skin feels firm and secure.
We also shed the skin of old behaviors that have really NEVER been effective, but we have not been ready to shed them, to let them go and leave them behind. Ones that come to mind, for me, are my need in the past to hold onto internalized shame and fear in regard to being a lesbian; that NEVER worked for me, but I held onto it for years, out of fear of discovery, fear of the unknown, fear of facing the TRUTH about life and myself. I have to tell you, after shedding THAT skin, this new skin is the most comfortable that I have ever been in my life.
How am I unlike a snake? This present skin that I possess, the one that I live and breathe in, is the one for keeps. Any knick in the surface, any abrasion along the way, peels away that portion, and grows back stronger and more resilient than ever before. This skin has not just become familiar, it is living, breathing, functioning, and protects me as well as exposes me. You see, with the openness of truth and light in my life, I don’t mind being exposed some of the time. Exposed and vulnerable, because it opens me up to so much of life. Life that I have denied myself in the past. Life that I was willing to let go of when I felt most raw and despairing. I don’t mind the wounds here and there, because I ALWAYS learn, and I ALWAYS heal. ALWAYS…………
This skin, with its tattoos for remembrance and symbolism, with its scars and its battle wounds, with its soft and rough spots, is mine, mine that I have worked hard to develop and now embrace.
I shed no more……….