Shedding Old Skin

My wife and I have a pet snake. Technically it is my wife’s classroom snake, but every summer it becomes our snake by default. And personally, I love snakes, which makes me a little different or at the very least a Slytherin (actually I am a Hufflepuff, but I digress). And one of the many cool things about snakes is how they shed their skin when they grow.

Snakes shedding their skin can teach us about letting go of the old and growing into the new. And no, this is not my snake. My snake is actually a bit shy.

And I like this for a number of reasons, but as it relates to this post I like it because it is a perfect analogy for healing and growing. After all, you are literally shedding the old and creating something new, a new skin to be specific.

It can be scary. Growing into something new can make you feel raw and exposed and vulnerable. Yet being vulnerable is necessary to grow and growth is necessary to continuously push back against the demons of mental illness. At least that is the case for me. Stagnation leads to maladaptive habits that my demons love to push upon me. Yet no matter how loudly they whisper, I still have control. I still have the ability to grow new skin.

Sure, the new skin might still have old scars on it, scars from when I battled my demons in the past, but that is okay. Those scars just mean I survived those battles. And so did you. And in a new skin, you can present a new you to the world, one who has seen the darkness, survived, and grown because of it. Grown into a new skin in fact.

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