• carla moreno

Damaged Like A VHS Tape


Last night I spent two hours dissecting a VHS tape all for the sake of wanting to see old teaching videos and a trip to Brazil I made in 2004. It's been hard to find a VHS player these days. Thankfully, my husband-to-be had one and I was able to transport back in time for just a little while.


The problem arose when I inserted the tape and rewound to a specific scene.


ZAP! The film strip snapped off the reel.


I was devastated at first and thought “Well, it’s over. That’s it. The tape is damaged for good.” But for some reason, I just decided to take it apart and try to fix it.


I'm pretty impressed with the patience I had as this ‘surgery’ required lots of small screws and extreme attention to detail.


I started thinking about the similarities between the dissection of a VHS tape and...well, me. The slices or whole organs removed for biopsy and the hours and hours of attention to detail by a team of surgeons.


My frustration grew as the film continued to tangle up every time I'd reinsert it into the tape player. I started to lose hope, but I kept at it as this tape was becoming more and more important to me.


I thought of the life I used to live 17 years ago as an adventurous world traveler. Brazil was and still is the trip that remains closest to my heart. Of course I had fears as a single young woman on a month-long trip, traveling alone, in a country where I barely knew the language. But as you can see, I returned safe and sound. Using my travel experience as a music lesson plan, the trip to Brazil fueled my entire school year resulting in a fabulous music production that my students created on their own.


Fast forward to now, and I find myself on a different and less desirable trip. One that’s physically painful, mentally exhausting, and one I didn’t plan. For the last year-and-a-half, everytime I thought I’ve been fixed up, more bad news has come my way. I feel much like this VHS tape -- inserted and reinserted only to spin off the reel and get tangled up. Sometimes I feel like God unscrews the nuts and bolts in my head for just enough time to cry, shout, and scream and then screws them back together again for the next round of who knows what.


A good friend encouraged me to try to stay positive on the things that are real because they're here and now. Perhaps that's why I broke down in tears watching the videos. My teaching and traveling experiences were real, but now they're in the past. There were many good things I’d forgotten that brought a smile to my face. Here's one more...


I am here.


Eventually, I dissected other tapes to see exactly how they were constructed inside. I wish I could say the same for cancer. A one-size-fits-all remedy. And after a good cry...yet again, I kept my fingers crossed that this time, the tape would work. In the end, it did.


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© 2020 by CARLA MORENO.