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Let me see if we can both make sense of this.

I’m okay. Like, there are definitely no major life crises going on at this moment. 

Let's talk about our classroom’s pet, the adult female corn snake. I’ve never much cared for snakes, and I don’t know a lot about things I don’t care about. When you take over an elementary classroom, though, you have certain responsibilities. The absolute biggest of which is making sure the children don’t die or something. Somewhere after that is the care of the fauna and flora of the classroom.

When our corn snake stopped eating her delicious meal of dead defrosted rat in the late winter, I got concerned. Was she sick? Developing an eating disorder? On a hunger strike until her and her fellow classroom pets were liberated from bondage?

I was informed by the classroom assistant, who does care about things like this, that this is perfectly normal. Apparently, this is “shedding time.” When a snake starts to shed, it does certain things. Like not eating. Also, its skin dulls. And its eyes get cloudy, too. I was thrilled to find out that the cloudy eyes thing was normal because the solutions to feeding a corn snake with sever cataracts its bi-weekly meal (did I mention it was a dead rat? That we have to dangle the rat? And that she dislocates her jaw and swallows the whole thing?) were utterly terrifying.

I’m like a snake when it comes to emotional evolution. When I shed, I stop eating rats and my eyes cloud. Metaphorically speaking. It’s the reduction of input. The quieting of the outside so that the inside may flourish. Also, rats are just gross and I firmly believe that everyone, even a snake, deserves a break from that sort of dietary hell.

Something else our snake did this spring was lay eggs. That was super weird because, as far as I know, there are no boy snakes hanging out in our classroom. My first inclination was to shout loudly to the global snake community, “Be not afraid; behold, I bring you great tidings of joy!” circa my 1984 stint as the Angel of the Lord in Daytona Beach Baptist School’s Christmas production, whose other lesser known title was, “Angels Have Brown Hair, Too - Even if We Are Baptists.” I suspected that such a proclamation should be backed up by at least some degree of research, though, so I decided to Google “virgin corn snake eggs.” 



That was an unexpected first. 

Anyway, the egg laying was not, in fact, a messianic miracle, but a natural occurrence in which the snake is shedding the inner lining of her reproductive whatchyamacalits and what I am trying to say is that our classroom snake DearGod,AreYouThere,It’sMeMargaret-ed and went and had her first snake period which resulted in the laying of fake eggs which would, thankfully, not be hatching. I say “thankfully” because dead rats are expensive and that snake doesn’t have a job and I am not running a welfare state classroom over here.

I have a point. 

I promise.  

I imagine it took the snake a lot of work to lay those eggs. Eggs that would not hatch. I wonder if she got mad at herself, at first. “I cannot believe I went on this stupid rat fast just so I could push out ten eggs that aren’t even going to hatch.” And, then, maybe when I found her hovering over them, she was all, “Whatever, I’m just going to sit in my fake little plastic rock cave and be pissed off about having worked so hard only to find that all of this was fake.” And , then, she fell into a dreamlike state in which she envisioned one of the children leaving the lid of her cage slightly ajar so she could slither off to a place where they actually have corn, like maybe Iowa or something, and be impregnated by an actual boy snake and have free babies without the marks of bondage like those humans in Matrix III. 

I’ve sort of gotten of track here. Like Jane Goodall forgetting to number the chimps, but naming them Rudolph and Blitzen and being all unscientific. I’m trying to tell you that I thought that I thought one way  and found that I don’t actually think that way even though, really, I should and I was upset about it for a while, but now I’m fiiiiiine.

A person can write about her birthday while telling herself that she doesn’t care for the approval of others. But, then, she comes into contact with a person here or there that doesn’t just hold lukewarm feelings about her but actively hates her and finds ways turn hate into direct action despite, for real and seriously, all of one's best efforts to find common ground and, at least, come to some sort of mutual understanding that doesn't involve mental torture.

One realizes, then, that one can make proclamations about one’s self esteem and confidence all one likes while one inhabits a vacuum of love and a carefully constructed reality but when the pressure is on… one cares, and rejection doesn’t just sting… it devastates. 

That devastation then colors the world. 

One begins to see rejection where it does not exist. 

One’s self worth becomes not something which one brandishes happily, but something which one must actively fight to preserve.

One feels ashamed for being so weak as to be affected so severely by someone who they did not much hold in high esteem, anyway. And that last part about not holding them in high esteem actually makes one’s shame take on an exponential quality and begins to transform from shame into just feeling dumb which one is rarely accustomed to feeling.

And one does not prefer to do such things in public. Ever. 

One prefers to hide even from those who have never been anything but lovely to her in the solitude of her cave.

On top of her fake, pseudo-messianic eggs.

While her skin sheds and her eyes cloud.


One does come out when she is done with that.


Hark the Herald; Angels Sing...This Totally Happened

References (3)

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    Native Born - Blog - Shedding.
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    Native Born - Blog - Shedding.
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    Native Born - Blog - Shedding.

Reader Comments (13)

My god(dess), you are brilliant. Glad you're back. Hope the assistant took the snake for summer.

June 19, 2013 | Unregistered Commentertricia

I'm not sure what it says about me that my strongest reaction to this post was WHO THE HELL WAS MEAN TO YOU? Because I'm not above in hinging my jaw and swallowing them whole.

June 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBritt

Good. Because there's nothing worse than cloudy eyes and eggs all over the place.

June 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRW

I think I felt this last fall, but my brain couldn't process it as brilliantly as yours! Maybe I should've laid eggs?

June 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNicole

Someone was mean to you? Clearly there is something wrong with them. You're awesome.

I think it's good to cocoon for a bit every once in a while and assess our situation. It's the only explanation I can find for the Universe sending us assholes to make us question our worth.

June 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

Glad you are back! Sometimes, we just need a break.

Peace to you, Faiqa. You're one of my favorites. And because of YOU, I met Fatima K and because of HER I entered into some groups and made some serious friendships (real life ones.....even here in my hometown. Hell, my HUSBAND made a friend out of the deal)

What I am saying is that you matter. And in my life, the small ripples you made ended up having huge, lasting, positive impacts for my entire family.

June 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKelli Oliver George

Sheltering, and gaining strength, while protecting yourself from the storm.

It's what we're smart to do. And our bodies know best.

Much love to you, dear woman.

June 19, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteralexandra

Who could be mean to you???

So we got this lizard. Jason LOVES reptiles. He named it Chuck Norris, because it was a bearded dragon and OBVIOUSLY. Except that one day he came in and was really sad because Chuck was sick and it looked really bad. And chuck was angry and doing lizard push ups (they do it when they're all PUFF UP!) and Jason was sure he was going to die. And then Chuck laid a crapton of eggs and Jason was all HOLY CRAPTON OF EGGS and Chuck is now called Chuckalina, who is also a virgin mother.

I have no idea where I was going with that. Hi!

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

I'm now afraid of Britt (after reading her comment) but am glad to hear from you again!

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterfather muskrat

Brilliant. You really are so gifted. And so right. My eyes have been clouding over lately.

June 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJasmine

a) I'm really glad we don't go through THAT every month.
b) who's picking on you?
c) I miss you, a lot.

June 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

I'm sad that you've been having a rough go of it for a bit, but I'm overjoyed to see you back on the nets. I've missed you. A Lot... And instead of leaving two comments just because there were two posts, Holy moly! You've gotten MORE beautiful since last I saw you! How do you do that?

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAllyson

oh hey girl, heyyyyy. we're about to go do some observation with colored pencils..... :)

June 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPaige Ryan

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