The Sea Will Rise

The Sea Will Rise

lyrics by Hannah Asfeldt

 

The world is howling and there is no light around. The wild storm magnifies the lack of hope that’s found.
Our cries distinguished not in wind that never ceases. For if we give up hope we’ll surely fall to pieces.

There is no submission in eyes made of mirrors
Lungs that hold their breathe will soon turn to glass

The sea will rise, the sea will rise, the sea will rise but we will not sink
Because in your eyes, in your eyes, in your eyes we are worth saving.
In your voice, in your voice, in your voice we’ll find promises of what’s to be;
With you we’ll breathe.
The sea will rise, the sea will rise, the sea will rise but we will sail on
In our eyes, in our eyes, in our eyes you’re a faithful God
Though we pray, though we pray, though we pray for an olive branch
We’ll sail straight through
We’ll breathe with you

Lord your faithfulness will lead me through these waters
Lord your faithfulness will lead me in the truth
I will gladly drown to show the world you chose us
I will gladly drown to show that I choose you

Though there is no silver lining in our vision
You have made the promise no more waves

The sea will rise, the sea will rise, the sea will rise but we will not sink
Because in your eyes, in your eyes, in your eyes we are worth saving.
In your voice, in your voice, in your voice we’ll find promises of what’s to be;
With you we’ll breathe.
The sea will rise, the sea will rise, the sea will rise but we will sail on
In our eyes, in our eyes, in our eyes you’re a faithful God
Though we pray, though we pray, though we pray for an olive branch
We’ll sail straight through
We’ll breathe with you

You baptize us when you bring the floods.
Hear a voice cry out, begging pleading “Father let us drown”
You baptize us when you command the floods.
Hear the world cry out begging “Father cleanse us in your blood”

The sea will rise, the sea will rise, the sea will rise but we will not sink
Because in your eyes, in your eyes, in your eyes we are worth saving.
In your voice, in your voice, in your voice we’ll find promises of what’s to be;
With you we’ll breathe.
The sea will rise, the sea will rise, the sea will rise but we will sail on
In our eyes, in our eyes, in our eyes you’re a faithful God
Though we pray, though we pray, though we pray for an olive branch
We’ll sail straight through
We’ll breathe with you

Still Not Asking For It

         Today I was coffee shop hopping as I do (for those of you who don’t know, that means staying at a coffee shop as long as is socially acceptable then going to the next one and repeating), and as I was driving from Black Sheep to Coffea, a red car with two males pulled up next to me at a stoplight. After a very brief moment of eye contact, they proceeded to make obscene gestures, roll their window down, and yell to try and get my attention. Unlike the aggressive woman that I am, I made the conscious decision to ignore them as I kept my eyes ahead of me and windows rolled up, a hot blush creeping up the back of my neck. I proceeded in my route hoping that these boys would continue on their own way, but they seemed to have another idea. They followed me. At every stoplight, even if there were cars in front of me and none in front of them, they would stop next to me and continue their harassment. When I turned, they jumped into my lane and turned with me only to once more get into the lane next to me. This occurred for over ten minutes. As I was nearing my destination, I was literally shaking with the thought that they might follow me and get out of their car. I had my phone in my hand ready to call a friend that worked at Coffea so he could come out and walk me in, but to my relief, as I turned into the parking lot of Coffea, they finally sped away. I got out of my car and weakly walked into the coffee shop, silently thanking that these strange guys weren’t accompanying me.

         As I sat in Coffea, contemplating homework but not doing any, my mind wandered onto the systematic forces behind why these boys were fearless about the attention they had given me today. While I am definitely a fan of unsolicited flirting (such as buying me hot chocolate, or leaving me a note that says “hey I bet you have a great brain, call me” [potential boyfriends, take note]) aggressive pursuit without encouragement is simply NOT COOL. This kind of harassment is metaphorically rape, because it is taking someone’s time and feelings of safety, and violating and destroying it, over and over. Although we have made beautiful leaps in the area of women’s rights since the beginning of the 20th century, these boys have still grown up in a society where women are depicted as being at the service of men. Boys like these are taught that they can do whatever they want to a woman and that there will be no repercussions. I’m not saying that every male out there is a sex offender or ignorant of the equality of men and women, I know plenty of lovely, respectable guys that I trust with my life and well being. I’m saying that people can take away from the media the belief that women are submissive and meant to be dominated, even that we LIKE being harassed. And, while there may be some girls who are into being aggressively pursued, there are just as many if not more women who have been systematically raised to fear walking down a street alone at night.

         Even though I know that I have just as much control of my life as men, I still blush and avoid eye contact when I am in a room with only men. This isn’t because I believe every man I come in contact with is picturing me without my clothes on, it’s because I literally can’t afford to not be careful. I have been harassed and assaulted in many ways but I still consider myself lucky because I have never been raped. That is not okay. I have sat in a circle with friends and strangers both male and female and shared experiences of sexual assault, both physically and emotionally. That is not okay. There should not be stories in the memory of nearly every human. There should not be fear in the eyes of every woman and plenty of men.

        When I joined Sigma Phi Lambda, I attended a training seminar on sex assault and how to avoid it. While I do believe that this is an excellent thing to be teaching college students, no one has ever taught a seminar on how to not assault other people. Congruent to teaching victims defense mechanism, we should also be teaching potential offenders coping mechanism, so that they can find other outlets instead of sexual violence. Until we address the source of the problem, simply treating the symptoms will ensure that we never permanently get rid of sex assault.

         I know that this post is unstructured, emotional, and poorly written, but I wanted it to be real. I wanted to show how I am feeling right now. I know that this article can do nothing, that I cannot change the world or change society. But I needed to write this because there are some of you out there, male and female alike, who have never experienced this. Though ignorance is supposed to be bliss, ignorance is also perpetuating the belief that it’s okay to take advantage of other people.

        So, here is my closing note. Just to make things clear. No matter what someone is wearing or what environment they are in, unless they come up to you completely sober and say “I want to have a sexual relationship with you” they are NOT asking for it.

Homes Out Of Horcruxes

          There is something to be said about building homes in more places than one. It brings a lot of heartache, but also comes with a lot of joy. I’ve held onto the place my heart blossomed in Sioux Falls, SD; I’ve crafted a life for myself out of nothing in the little town of Norman, OK; I’ve fallen in love with an entire family in Bratislava, Slovakia; I’ve been shown love greater than any racial or social boundaries in Usa River, Tanzania; and I have people I think about daily in Morocco and Jordan. I’ve spent my entire lift splitting myself into as many pieces as possible because I am incapable of choosing one place to rest my soul. I’m actually starting to feel like Voldemort, although hopefully slightly less corrupted and narcissistic. Despite the whole chasing after racial genocide, Voldemort represents the way I feel and what I have done to myself more than any other literary entity floating out there. He split himself into pieces so he wouldn’t lose himself, just as I have done. I have this profound fear that if I choose only one home I am destined to find myself crushed under the weight of could-have-beens and what-ifs. I think most people are like that: we fear missed opportunity more than we fear losing what we already have. This is a battle I have fought my entire life.
          The first year of college I tried letting go of home (by home I mean Sioux Falls). I poured all of my energy into Oklahoma, striving to build a strong foundation, a foundation upon which I could take care of myself. I forged paths that only I could know, I gathered the secrets of my previous life and cast them aside, rejecting every reminder that I had ever had a home before. But, every time I returned, I was reminded of the souls that thrived there that continuously encouraged me to pursue my dreams (Serenah, Devon, and Jordan: I’m talking about you). Don’t get me wrong, I’ve found countless souls like that too in Oklahoma, but the beauty that set the Sioux Falls souls apart from the Oklahoma souls was that we had history. They beamed with me when I got punched in the face and they knew all the reasons why I constantly want to reject authority and they held my heart together when I couldn’t keep it together myself. So, even though I gave having a one-track mind a shot, places like Black Sheep and Coffea and Tuthill Park reminded me that I just wasn’t that type of person.
          So here I am, choosing to divide my soul into pieces and scatter it around the globe. I remember distinctly a moment in Tanzania when my host Baba arrived over an hour early to pick me and my ‘sister’ Megan up. He said it was because he was our father and he would always be there for us. Who was I to reject that kind of unconditional love? And in Slovakia, my real sister’s sisters and I all held hands and obnoxiously sang pop songs all the way down a mountain. Why? Not because we were just friends for the time I was there, but because we were and still are family.
          This isn’t saying that I haven’t cut things out of my life. I’ve burned a lot of bridges, most of them unnecessarily, but burned they still remain. I’ve lost things out of fear and out of apathy, although I don’t know which one is worse. To be the first hand to let go is truly a tragedy, and a reflection of the selfishness of our spirits. But there’s forgiveness in spite of that, whether it comes from yourself, those you let go of, or the God that created them. If you were on one of the bridges I have burned, I am truly sorry. I’ll live my whole life trying to pay you back.
          As a global citizen, we have to gorilla glue parts of ourselves to every connection we have around the world. Because if we don’t, we further the idea that people who look different on the outside are also different on the inside. Let me give you a hint: WE AREN’T. The heart beat of my Jordanian friend sounds just the same as mine, especially if your eyes are closed. So does my heart burn with pain over the lives I love that I can’t be with everyday? Yes. Do my eyes see more of the world with a glossy film over them? Yes. But would I trade any of it to only have one address saved on my phone under ‘home’? No. I wouldn’t. I can’t.
          I hope you pour everything you have into everyone you meet. I hope you invest in their lives as if they are the most precious commodities in the world, because, believe it or not, they are. Out of unwillingness or incapability, they might not give back, but please don’t let that stop you. I can promise you it will hurt to build homes around the world, but I can also promise you this: no matter how excruciating it gets, you will not break, you will not shatter, you will not fall, because the very second you start to think about it, you will have an infinite number of people holding you together. If you have burned too many bridges to believe that you are capable of love like this, I promise you can find it again. I promise you can be made whole. I certainly have.

Learning to Dwell

When something tragic happens, we have two choices: we can either dwell on it, or we can learn from it and move on. Most people would say that moving on is crucial to surviving, that dwelling on the wounds of the past is to keep that wound from healing. But I think that when something tragic happens, instead of immediately seeking out a happy ending, we must take time to dwell in it.
I recently suffered the biggest loss I have ever suffered in my life and boy, did I try to move on. I spent my days dreaming of how much better my life was going to be, of how this experience had happened for good. I took all the pain and emotional devastation associated with my loss and I shoved it behind me, saying as I always do, “I’m Hannah Asfeldt. I’m a fierce, strong woman. I will be bigger than this.” I tried to convince myself that I was a land untouchable, a mountain that couldn’t be traversed. But this began to take its toll on me. I couldn’t eat; my appetite was completely gone. I couldn’t sleep without haunting dreams floating behind my eyelids. I began seeking selfish social interaction that was unfair to others to cure my incessant loneliness.
I was approaching implosion and fast. And so, instead of remaining a mountain as I have always been, I decided to be the grain of sand. I allowed my pain to be bright and glaring. I placed my hand on the burner, not fully understanding how hot it was going to be. But though it was hot, it was beautiful. I dwelt in my pain and suffering, I rode every wave of emotional destruction, I let the tides of agony overtake me, and in the end I was left smiling. In allowing myself to feel, I allowed myself to heal. We must allow ourselves to dwell in pain because we need to know that our pain is real. We need to know that the hurt we feel is real and honest and pure in order to know that our recovery has value. If I didn’t feel how hot the burner was, how could I know the sweetness of the cool water?
Yes, eventually we need to move on from loss. Yes, we need to seek out a greater life. But we need to honestly feel our pain. Our hearts cannot recover if we keep the pain pushed down, never letting it free. Once your pain is set free, then you too will be free, free to move on and free to breathe. Free to find yourself smiling.