Adventure or Meltdown?
Recently, my wife and I started a vlog, telling the story of what it’s like to be in our relationship as an interracial couple. Someone kindly wrote under the pilot episode that we posted on Facebook, “What a great adventure.”
We’ve talked about this vlog idea for a long time, maybe years.
The first episode was, well, magical. Good timing. Fairly well-executed, technically speaking. Good conversation and chemistry.
Yesterday, we tried to film the second episode. Rather than “adventure,” the word that comes to mind is meltdown. We encountered all sorts of technical issues. I was distracted by the idea of adding an additional camera. We wrote an outline appropriate for July 4 (talking about our freedom and independence in our relationship) but we were plagued with execution issues. The tone was wrong. We were tense. Looking at the footage after two hours of driving and filming, I saw that changing the camera mount (from the “beanie” used in episode 1 to a legitimate GoPro dash mount) made the camera angle unflattering (too close) and slightly off center, cutting off Darlene’s elbow.
Why wasn’t this a meltdown? Meltdown is a word that comes from nuclear power, meaning when the core overheats, liquifies, and discharges radiation. A meltdown literally means the source of energy is damaged beyond repair or use. After we had reviewed the flawed footage and our flawed performances, and discussed what went wrong, Darlene suggested we do a F.I.N.D. debrief, and we reflected on the day’s events. We grew calmer and calmer as we assessed the situation, in turns, according to the protocol. I grew determined and inspired as I saw some places where we, by incorporating small adjustments, could make the project — and ultimately our relationship — better.
The word adventure comes from Latin meaning “to arrive” or “to come” — ad = “to” and venire = “to come or to arrive” (like Spanish’s venir).
In this journey to produce a vlog with Darlene, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that the adventure is that we are making our relationship “arrive,” or come to a place of greater maturity, insight and capacity. I’m inspired by her patience and determination to do it right, to tell the story in a way that honors us, and in a way that shares what’s best about our relationship with the world.
In the face of a meltdown, stay calm, assess what’s working and what’s not, be kind to each other, and make, to quote friend Sam Song, the beautiful future arrive.