It’s 4 a.m.
The cracks in the ceiling glow through shards of moonlight poking in.
But it’s the cracks in my confidence, my self belief, that show up most glaringly at this hour.
Did I get good shots today?
This camera is new; I’m learning it on the fly. I’ve wasted some moments with bad audio, bad focus, bad settings.
I won’t get those moments back.
Will this video come together? Will it be any good? Will it be reflective?
I adore Corozal. I feel so motivated to show all that I love. But the things I want to portray still elude me. Here, thanks to the incredible warmth that surrounds me, I have dined in people’s homes. I’ve shared food they’ve made with their own hands, with worn and beloved recipes, passed down through generations.
And this, I can’t share, not really.
People have invited me into their homes…
Yeah, that’s just it. They invited me, not my camera, into their homes. That Western need to be in the spotlight? It doesn’t exist here. No one is parading around town filming Instagram stories. No one is recording their every move.
The barbecues weren’t for my benefit, for my lens. I don’t get to pawn off their culture, to put them under a microphone without explicit consent.
No, I am invited into people’s homes as a friend, not a photographer. I am grateful.
Can I be both?
Sometimes I am torn between my humanity and my goals.
This one-woman band of mine is exhausting sometimes.
Playing the roles of writer, photographer, videographer, producer, social media influencer, travel agent, administrator and saleswoman.
How did that happen?
Somehow it’s 80 percent of my job.
Selling people on participating in my stories and videos. Selling my work to publishers. Selling my readers on each link. Selling myself on Instagram. Selling, selling, selling.
Will people be sold?
Time isn’t quite linear here …plans are rare; keeping them is rarer. The Caribbean continuum is decidedly more relaxed. Perhaps its a healthier way to live. But I haven’t adapted. I’m always scrambling.
Will my interviews all happen this week? Maybe. Will they happen as scheduled? No chance.
And if they don’t happen at all?
In between, I have so many projects: this other video, this magazine piece, these Live Inspired columns. There are the things I’ve already reported but haven’t found the capacity to write— that story on Lake Atitlán’s potential devastating collapse; the birth of the surprising Guatemalan cocktail scene.
And all these new little social media goals, via my strategist: more Instagram live, more Twitter, more raw YouTube, a media kit. I have a new SEO specialist. I’m looking for an intern. I’m building an online shop.
At this hour, it all piles up.
Will it all get done?
Soon — too soon — I will leave Corozal and the grounding routine I have scrapped together. I will leave the familiar, again, and charge into the unknown. My bed will change, as will my shower. My friends, my support network, the place I get coffee. The stories will change, and the work.
That was what this was always about. Moving, changing, growing, accepting the challenges.
But sometimes I am so tired. Sometimes my vision is fuzzy.
Where am I going next?
Is my Spanish good enough for the next projects? Can I finish these current projects first? Will I find the time? The capacity? The right people?
How long will I stay?
What will I find?
How long can I continue at this warped pace?
Here is my dream, laid out before me. I love it. I live it. I cherish it. I have no regrets. I have learned more about myself and what I’m capable of in the last nine months than the previous 32 years.
Yet in the early morning, the fear swarms, the pressure builds.
The cracks grow wider.
Will people stay interested? Will they bore of my work?
Can I keep finding original ideas? Can I keep paying my bills?
Can I find a way to be better, to be more?
Soon, the moonlight fades, replaced by that hot Belizean sun, and the night’s fissures are welded, somewhat, by coffee and production.
They’ll return, again, if not tonight, then next week — the ceiling gaping into a black hole, sucking me inward.
But for now, I’ll let the sun hit my face, and keep moving forward.