Molting: What Creatives Have To Learn From Snakes

Joy Thigpen

The first time this happened to me, to be honest, I felt kind of panicky inside. I feared I was at the beginning of a major identity crisis. I looked around me at this “style” or “voice” I had found and enjoyed for a few years and suddenly and exponentially increasingly, it felt awful! My website (that I really used to love)—I didn’t even want to look at anymore. The world I built around myself suddenly made me feel claustrophobic. Reflecting on my predicament, I noticed I felt even physically tight in my own skin. I was uncomfortable, agitated, and felt confined.

That’s when it struck me: I am like a snake that’s molting.

I’m really not into snakes at all and the thought of comparing myself to one creeped me out, but there was a surpassing feeling: relief. Relief in knowing that I was not falling apart or about to explode—I was growing. My old skin fit me well for a time, but now I’ve grown. I can shed that part of me and I’ll still be intact and ok. The grossness I felt about seeing myself as a snake paled in comparison to the freedom, grace, and understanding it gave me to molt.

Excerpt from “Finding Your Voice” by Joy Thigpen.