One night while channel surfing, I came across a reptile show on The Animal Planet. Initially I was going to bypass the show because I am not a fan of reptiles, specifically snakes, but there was something about this show that was intriguing to me. I was fascinated as I listened to the narrator describe the life of a reptile. I learned a lot about what they eat, how they digest, how they live, the conditions of their habitat and the temperature needed for survival and growth. I also learned how they mate and how often they give birth to snakelets. By the way that is the name of a baby snake. I do not know why that word is hilarious to me, but it is.
Just when I thought I could not be more interested in this show, the narrator said, “When we return, we will examine what happens during the process of ecdysis.” Of course, I did not know what that meant, so I immediately googled the meaning of ecdysis. According to Reconnect With Nature, ecdysis is the process of shedding skin. There are many factors that impact how and when snakes shed, including species, age, weather, nutritional health and the presence of bacteria or parasites. The article said younger snakes typically shed more than adults because they are still growing.
This commentary was accompanied by a visual of a snake shedding their outer layer. I sat in amazement and eagerly anticipated the return of the show after the commercial break.
When the narrator returned, he recapped some of the previous content and then began covering the process of shedding. He described the process in detail, but there was one statement that caught my attention.
The narrator said, “This process allows for further growth and to remove parasites that may have attached to their old skin.” I literally screamed, “Yes, remove the parasites!”
Now, if you have followed my writings, you know I immediately began thinking about how this relates to humans and our shedding process. Of course, I am not speaking of the literal shedding of our skin, which by the way happens every minute of the day. We lose about nine pounds of skin cells every year.
I am referring to the shedding of the parasites and dead cells that attach to us and have an impact on our internal well-being. Unlike humans, snakes shed a complete layer. When the layer is shed, they leave it behind. This means, they do not hang around to see if it was a mistake or if they can save the old skin. They leave the parasitic skin behind and they move on.
There is something that we as humans can learn from this process. The complete shedding process can take between one to two weeks. I know that may seem like a long time and it may be tempting to intervene and help snakes shed, the best thing you can do is leave them be. Shedding is a very sensitive process for snakes, and they become easily stressed. It is important not to disturb their process.
How many of us have been going through our own process of “shedding” and all we wanted was someone to just check on our process without disturbance or interruption? Just like a snake takes time to shed and begin displaying their newness, we need our time as well.
This process of discarding this outer layer may be stressful, humiliating, and scary due to the unknown of what is underneath. The shedding of this parasitic excess skin is so hard because we invest a lot of time dressing up, bandaging the wounds, and protecting its layer. But trust what is underneath is much stronger than that which we are trying to “protect.” It is necessary to shed!
The benefits of this process allow you to:
Release yourself from what or who you have outgrown.
Release yourself from what is old, expired, or worn-out.
Release yourself from what or who is unhealthy to your well-being.
Life can add layers to who you are. These layers can be the layers you added or layers from other people or circumstances. There are many circumstances that can add layers, but just to name a few; emotionally or physically abusive relationships, loss of or disconnect from a family member or close friend, low self-esteem, struggles with unstable mental health or substance use, can all be very damaging. It is important to remember you are not bound to these layers; you have the strength and the ability to go through the process of shedding. Do not be embarrassed to embrace your shedding. I will not say this process is easy, it is work and may take time. Try not to be too hard on yourself or concerned with how others will view you.
Your shedding process will be difficult, but it is necessary. The process can help you release your: hurt, disappointments, anger, anxiety, sadness, hopelessness, guilt and/or shame.
Often, we become overly concerned with our relationships with others and how they view us. We think more about how the process will look to others and less concerned with how unhealthy situations are impacting us. Remember, YOU are the priority, and it is YOUR process for YOUR health and wellness. We know deep down inside that we need to make changes for our own well-being. Once you have gone through this process you will come out looking brand new. You will have an undeniable glow; you will begin thinking clearly and a new you will soon emerge from your dead skin.