Shaking the Broken Tapes on Replay


That’s not who I am
That’s not how I live
Look into my eyes
And do not ask again

To truly see into my eyes
You’ll need to listen close
To the stories I love most
And press stop on the tape
You keep repeating on replay

When other’s stories start creeping in
That’s when my self-awareness cannot be dimmed
We need to remember our stories cherished within
Even when we’re told the same stories again and again

Repetition does not make them true
Not for me and I sure hope not for you

It is in knowing who we are
That allows these hollow stories
To be removed from our playlist
For if they remain on replay
The skewed sight is heartbreak

For this is who I am
This is how I live
Look into my eyes
There will be no surprise
Nor a need to ask again

I tell the stories that shape me
Stories of resilience, kindness, compassion and creativity
Stories that connect and intertwine our lives

I also tell stories that were once so limiting
Stories that skewed who I thought I could become
Stories we all need to leave behind
To be the someone we know we can be

For me, I gathered up my courage and dove headfirst
Into the playlist of stories
Sorting the ones that built me up
The ones that rang true
From those I wanted nothing to do with

And when I found there were stories
That were not truly from friends, family or those I trust
Stories that were simply broken tapes
Left on replay

It was heartbreaking and liberating

Stories I had heard so many times
I once thought they were mine
Or at the very least had some relevance to my life

Not so
Not even close

When I tell stories
I intentionally set it with the backdrop of our common humanity
Is this not the story of so much of the stigma we face today?
A broken tape left on replay

I am not talking about robots or conspiracy theories
I am talking about stories that are skewed
Yet are repeated in our homes, in our classrooms and on the news
Stories we need to unglue
For they paint such a limited view of me and you

So whatever that story, that replayed tape is for you
Shake it off
Hold on to the ones that help you stay strong and true

Be aware of the stories you share
Own your stories as yours
Not simply a cultural cocktail

Stories are powerful things
Stories shape our lives as human beings
When society is so influenced by fear
Be aware of the stories you draw near

As we greet this new year
Recognize those stories that build you up
Stories that remind you who you truly are

As for the stories of fear played on repeat
While they don’t just disappear
You can decide that they have no place here

For we know who we are
We have come so far
We have our own stories to share
With eyes to see and hearts to care

It’s time to do away with tapes on replay
And speak
Put away the script and speak

Speak your story
Be your story
Hear our stories

Our stories inspire
Our stories breakthrough stigma and prejudice
Our stories show us how to love deeper and reach higher

Be your story today
Speak your story today
Hear our stories today
We will see change

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