In an exclusive excerpt from her upcoming memoir ‘The Woman in Me,’ the pop icon writes about how her legendary MTV performance was “even more terrifying than it appeared”

Britney Spears 2001 MTV VMA Awards

Britney Spears performs with Banana at the MTV VMAs in 2001. Photo:Chris Polk/FilmMagic

Britney Spears is dishing on her iconic 2001 VMAs performance!

In an excerpt shared with PEOPLE from her upcoming memoir, The Woman in Me, Spears, 41, writes about one of her most legendary live moments: when she performed “I’m a Slave 4 U” with an albino Burmese python named Banana wrapped around her shoulders at the MTV Video Music Awards.

“The plan was for me to sing ‘I’m a Slave 4 U,’ and we decided I would use a snake as a prop. It’s become an iconic moment in VMAs history, but it was even more terrifying than it appeared,” Spears writes. “All I knew was to look down, because I felt if I looked up and caught its eye, it would kill me.”

Britney Spears PEOPLE exclusive

Britney Spears.Britney Brands

Spears survived the performance and is now revealing what she was going on in her mind at the time.

“In my head I was saying, Just perform, just use your legs and perform. But what nobody knows is that as I was singing, the snake brought its head right around to my face, right up to me, and started hissing,” Spears writes. “I was thinking, Are you f—ing serious right now? The f—ing goddamn snake’s tongue is flicking out at me. Right. Now. Finally, I got to the part where I handed it back, thank God.”

Britney Spears, The Woman In Me Book Cover

Britney Spears’ The Woman In Me.

 The “Lucky” singer also opened up about the reptilian scare on Instagram back in September, when she shared a clip of the performance and revealed just “how scared” she was singing with a live python by her side.

In the clip, Spears famously had the snake draped around her neck as she held up its body with her hands, and its still held up as one of her favs. “One of my favorite performances was with an albino python 😳🐍💃🏼 …,” Spears wrote in the post’s caption. “I still remember how scared I felt when I was handed this snake and took the stage !!!”

“I talked more about this performance and other favorites in my book #TheWomanInMe,” Spears continued in the post’s caption. “I can’t wait for you to read it on October 24th 😉🌹 @gallerybooks @simonschusteruk.”

Britney Spears PEOPLE exclusive

Britney Spears.

The Woman in Me is now available for pre-order ahead of its release on Oct. 24. The audiobook will be narrated by five-time Oscar nominee Michelle Williams, PEOPLE exclusively revealed earlier earlier this week. For the audio version, Spears will record an introduction, while Williams will lend her voice to the remainder of the memoir.

“This book has been a labor of love and all the emotions that come with it,” Spears told PEOPLE. “Reliving everything has been exciting, heart-wrenching, and emotional, to say the least. For those reasons, I will only be reading a small part of my audiobook. I am so grateful to the amazing Michelle Williams for reading the rest of it.”