Finding the Fuel to Push Past Your Fear

A little while ago I was able to attend “Creating Art in Dark Times”, my first event hosted by Lighthouse. It was barely two days into my internship with the organization, and I was both excited and slightly nervous because I didn’t know what to expect. 

Led by R. Alan Brooks, a graphic novelist, teacher, and musician, the seminar was focused on the fear that exists and consumes each of us through the writing process, and what we can do to overcome it. As we spoke, I began to see a lot of parallels between Alan’s words and the current world we live in. 

The function of fear is to signal danger in a situation and thus trigger appropriate & adaptive responses. When we look out at the world, there is a lot to fear domestically and internationally. It may feel like we are headed towards inevitability; paralyzing us. While these problems are very real and while they may scare us, as R. Alan Brooks reminded us during our workshop, we cannot try to deny the existence of fear, but instead must address it, see how it manifests in ourselves, and actively begin working past it. 

It may feel overwhelming to address fear within ourselves alone, especially not knowing where to start. I know I’ve felt this before, and while I have a few consistent strategies I use, it’s always valuable to hear from others. Throughout the seminar, Alan told us about three steps he takes when addressing fear and I wanted to share them with you.

  1. Take a physical power pose: Taking a power pose means striking a posture that you typically associate with strength, fearlessness, or power. You may find yourself in a situation where you may not feel like you have control. Taking on a power pose when writing can help bring us a calm confidence, which can be reflected into our work. Focusing on your physicality is important as it helps ground you. 
  2. Reflect on your emotional state: The power that comes from expressing your raw self and feelings can provoke another person into taking action. When we hear that one speech, witness that one call to action that just snaps everything into perspective for you, it's our emotions that take suit. It’s important to encourage that inspiration, while not letting it run rampant or disorient you.
  3. Have practical planning and a workspace: Practical planning in terms of taking action may feel convoluted at times because the world we have created feels incredibly reactionary instead of proactive. To be successful at planning, you need to make a list of what you want to do and start work on the first goal. Completing goals in increments of five and repeating the cycle until you’re done helps make the obvious bumps in the road feel minor.

After the workshop was over, I spent the night thinking about Alan’s words and his motivation to continually produce art, teach it to others, and be content. Alan spoke about the important experiences and unique encounters he’s had with others because of releasing his work. Those  interactions are often forgotten about while getting lost in the pursuit of trivial things, and I’m glad there’s a space for reflection like this at Lighthouse.

I have gone through phases in my life where writing was one of the most influential ways for me to process everything that was going on in the world. I have always found a plethora of social and political events to write about, but in the past I have constantly found myself stumbling over words and ideas, trying to figure out how to articulate exactly what I’m thinking. Because of this, I switched over to a more visual art form, painting and drawing to raise awareness on injustices around the world. After attending this workshop, I am now more motivated to begin writing consistently again, pairing it with visuals. Whether it be through poetry, short stories, essays, or in this case, blog writing, I will be challenging myself, and following Alan’s guidelines when I need a boost.

Fear is something we have all experienced and will continue to feel for the rest of our lives. At times, it may just feel too large to tackle or change, its existence overbearing. However, it's important to remember all the different ways we can address and overcome such an emotion. As Alan said best, ““Where evil is running so unchecked in the world, it is so vital to not let fear silence us.” 


Sierra Romero is Lighthouse’s 2020 DEI intern and current student at Colorado College. She is studying Political Science, Environmental Studies, and Journalism. She is also an assistant at the United States Association of Blind Athletes and a stained glass teacher at her university. Born in Denver and raised in Puerto Rico, Sierra has spent a fair amount of time exploring different ways of life, focusing on the importance of intersectional identities. She is eager to further dive into the nonprofit world, where she believes a lot of impactful work can be accomplished to help communities around her. When she’s not busy with work or projects, she likes to paint, longboard, and make tortillas. 

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