The right words give your voice power
My name is Tyesha Smith. I am currently in law school, working toward a JD and beyond. Writing is an outlet of creativity that allows me to showcase not only my opinion, but the voice I have in this world.
This blog will explore a variety of topics through my perspective. I’m writing on love, religion, Blackness and whatever else falls in between the lines. I’ll incorporate the law, personal observations and experience to give you a view through my lenses.
I hope you enjoy, but if you don’t, remember, “argue with your mama, not me.”
Love and the Battlefield
A new look at love
It seems this topic came to me on purpose with it being so close to Valentine’s day, but I assure you it’s a coincidence. But now is a greater time than any to finally combine the major holiday of February, Valentine’s day, with what February is dedicated to, Black History Month. I’ve recently discovered the television show Underground. It’s a show that reenacts the slavery period following enslaved Black folks as they fight and run for their freedom. I couldn’t help but notice the relationships portrayed in the show, the romantic relationships that is. The character Zeake was married and his wife drowned their baby because she didn’t want the child to have to grow up in slavery. As angry as he was with her, when he heard the master (which is a very difficult term for me to use referring to the white man) was selling his wife off the land, he broke the buyer’s wagon and one of the guard’s noses to hug his wife one last time. Characters Rosalee and Noah became mesmerized with each other across the plantation and their love grew deeper as they journeyed through the underground railroad. Moses and Pearly Mae’s love continued even beyond their shallow graves. Watching their relationship dynamics made me wonder about the role of love during slavery. How vital was it to survival? I realized that even trying times don’t stop the heart from yearning for attention. In fact, trying times may be when you yearn the most.
Falling in love wasn’t a distraction from their desire for freedom, rather it served as motivation to keep heading its way. Love, marriage, and family filled their souls with hope of something better. There wasn’t even any legal protocol for them to get married yet they loved each other enough to create their own tradition, jumping the broom. This was easily the most brutal experience of their lives. On the one hand you wonder how anybody could get through that alone. On the other hand you wonder how anyone could open their heart to love another person when being exposed to hate daily, hourly. When they allowed themselves to love and be loved, that union cultivated a blessing of new life. Relationships between children and parents were delicate and perplexing. There were instances where mothers rid their children to spare them the detriment of slavery, being considered less than a human being. Then there were those who had the courage to bear their children and used them as incentive to fight for freedom. In a way, love was a symbol of freedom.
Viewing love from their perspective makes me reimagine what love means to me. Instead of looking at love as a leech that sucks all the common sense out of women and some men, perhaps I should view love, real love as an asset. It’s rare to find but a blessing when it finds you. Having a partner to journey through life with you should be like having a lifeboat and not hitting an iceberg. Find someone who doesn’t add to your burdens, but helps relieve them. Personally, I want a man I can escape with, or rather let our love be an escape from my reality. Our bubble of bliss will, hopefully, blossom into our reality. There will be difficulties, but our affection for each other will help us overcome any obstacle together. Then our love will manifest into human form for us to nurture into soulful beings. I’m not looking for anything easy. I’m looking for something beautiful.
The Black Church series
Where did we come from? Where are we now?
From birth I was taught about God and Christ and how to live a christian life. Religion is sewn into the fibers that make up my body. All my life I’ve attended a church composed of relatives and close family friends. Several members of my family are ministers. Being heavily involved in church made my family dynamics different yet traditional. Growing up we had no choice but to go to church, and if you were a descendent of Anna Smith, you had to join the choir. I mean after all, the church was founded by us. Given my experience, I assumed this was synonymous with everyone’s household. My classmates across all academic levels disproved that theory. Amongst my previous and current friend groups you’ll find an array of spiritual ideologies. Through the years, I’ve heard and opposed countless challenges to my beliefs. Which led me to the question: why is it so important for this world to declare God a false myth.
Religion has always been an armor for Black people against the perils stacked against us in this world. When our ancestors were forced into slavery, they were stripped of there customs and native culture. I’m not sure what religion was prevalent in Africa at the time, but once forced into the United States, our ancestors were able to form their own connection to western world divinity. White masters attempted to use the bible as tool to maintain discipline among the enslaved and justify the system of slavery. It is true that the Bible conveyed stories of enslavement, particularly that of the Israelites by the Egyptians, but just as for Black people, enslavement is not how the stories end. Just like the Israelites, our ancestors were victorious over their captors and delivered from slavery by the power of God.
Our enslaved ancestors weren’t allowed to read, but they were allowed to be taught certain portions of the bible. Slave masters wanted them to know enough to make them complacent and obedient to them, but not enough to influence them to fight for the freedom God promised them. Slave owners would withhold bible passages that spoke of liberation, challenging social hierarchy and imperial power. Even prayer came with the risk of being whipped. But, like usual, when facing oppression and adversity, Black people persevered. Even under threat, our ancestors found a way to give God praise. God’s word gave them hope that better days were coming. Once released from physical chains, Black people began establishing their own churches. These churches soon became pillars in the Black community, used not only for fellowship but the base for mobilizing political power and striving for justice.
Church is the place we convene to worship with others like us. We all fall short of righteousness, but God exercises grace and mercy through forgiveness to sustain us through this life. We praise him through song. Singing is putting a melody to God’s word that lightens burdens with every note. Praying is our direct communication with the Lord where we thank him for his blessings, ask for forgiveness, and make our requests. Preaching is how we get the word. Without the word, the gospel, we are nothing. The Holy Spirit moves through it all to guide us in our praise and everyday walk. Our ancestors created a culture and tradition in Black church that has been continued for decades. Why abandon it now? In a world of sin, we all need something to turn to, to lean on. At some point, you will have to rely on something more than money and mankind. It was God who delivered our ancestors from bondage. It was God who gave Dr. King strength to keep fighting while sitting in jail cells. Our history has proven that prayer works. Life has a way of showing us we need something bigger than us to survive. Don’t wait until it's too late.
“[B]ut they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
Isaiah 40: 31 KJV