Shedding My Skin

I wonder why God made it so we couldn't see the skin we shed over the years. A 2011 study found that we shed about half our bodyweight's worth of skin over the course of a lifetime. That's around 35kgs. Unlike snakes and crustaceans, human beings don't shed their skin in one dramatic event, but slowly and uneventfully every hour. But wouldn't it be better to see those changes? To feel them as they happen?

Suppose we were built like lobsters and had to crack open our exoskeletons in order to grow. As painful as that sounds, it's also something that might give us a deep appreciation for development. We take for granted the fact that we can grow like it's simply our right to become the best versions of ourselves. But if we were built like lobsters, we would have to consciously choose to undergo a period of pain and vulnerability in order to enjoy the privilege of growth. We would have to accept our pain and prepare for it. We would have to face our fears head-on. In fact, we would have no option but to accept this pain and suffering, otherwise, our inelastic exoskeletons would become too tight and squeeze us to death.

Except, we don’t have to suppose it - that’s exactly how it is. We are doomed to face our demise head-on or stay put and allow the exoskeleton of comfort and familiarity to squeeze the life out of our souls. Either way, we are choosing something, and we are changing in the process. We can’t help but change, even when we don’t want to, even when we don’t feel it or realise it. And the people around us are changing too.

I’ve often heard people say they broke up with their partners because “something changed” or “it wasn’t like before”. If we paid attention, we’d realise it’s not supposed to be like before. We keep changing, so it’s only reasonable for our relationships to change with us. I feel sorry for these people. Perhaps if God had made it so our skins were shed intact and we had a clear warning that change was imminent, we wouldn’t have this problem. Maybe if this excruciating change were as apparent as a crustacean moulting, we wouldn’t be so hard on each other… Or maybe we would, I don’t know… human beings are finicky. 

All this to say I’m going through a very tough change right now. I’ve spent a lot of time hiding away in my room hoping the decision disappears and I wake up to a new life without suffering any loss or sadness. A great chapter of my life is coming to a close and I don’t know what lies ahead. I want to know what lies ahead, but I’m also tingling all over with excitement and dread for the future. I imagine this is how I would feel just before jumping out of a plane. I’d hope my parachute works, but I’d also replay all the videos of failed parachutes and the possibility of a fatal ending. 

I’m grateful that God made it so I couldn’t see my skin shedding, even though the warning would be nice. I’m grateful I get to become a new person in private, even though that journey is lonely and painful and most times mundane and boring. I can only hope that as time goes on, I become better at recognising my evolution. I want to be aware of the skin falling off, and I want to embrace my new skin with both arms. I want to acknowledge my growth because the more I shed, the more I grow, the more I discover and the more I learn. I want to know when I shed my skin so I can always be prepared to meet myself in the present. 

1 February 2022