I recently had to compile a portfolio for my Dance major (a task that should have been done my sophomore year, but I declared my second major so late that I ended up doing it as almost a senior). As I worked to create my portfolio, I thought a lot about fear. The vulnerability of fear I've had performing at Luther, deciding to pursue a major that doesn't have the most practical post-graduation job, beginning to consider myself an artist.

As I wrote about this fear, I thought about things I've learned about fear in my Psychology classes. That avoiding an anxiety-provoking situation instantaneously reduces anxiety, an immediate positive reinforcer. But as one gets further and further away from the anxiety-provoking situation, they realize the potential for positive in that situation, and they start to seek it again...thus causing anxiety. It's a pretty vicious cycle.

 I'm becoming more and more curious about the visceral feeling I face when I want to do something that I fear. The internal sense of both wanting something and not wanting something. Of both fear and anticipation and excitement:

I want to take more risks sounds like a cool, sexy thing to say; I say it to myself, I write it in my journal. But, I'm not so sure if I actually want to - risks can end in hurt, heartbreak, and/or embarrassment. Saying no to a risk, giving into fear, gives immediate positive reinforcement - I avoid all of those uncomfortable feelings. Until I leave the situation and the "danger" becomes less imminent, and I remember that risks can lead to joy, success, love, and accomplishment. Then I want to take risks again. I'm interested in the visceral feeling - of wanting to and not wanting to, of fear and anticipation. Of navigating that space and finding where I end up.

So, as my friends graduate in 14 days (AH), or as you, dear reader and prospective/future Luther student, begin to embrace all of the fear regarding change, perhaps we can stand at the edge of that cliff together, noting all the sensations that arise. And maybe, just maybe, we'll plunge into something beautiful.

journal entry on fear

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