This entry is part [part not set] of 100 in the series Youth Voices
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Tesnim Smith. Just by looking at my name you can tell I come from two very different backgrounds. I am half Palestinian, and part Swedish, Scottish, and Slovenian. I was born in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, living in the Dearborn area until I was eight. After that, I moved to Manistee, Michigan, a complete opposite of my life before. I went from living in a big neighborhood, next to a major city, to living in a small town where everyone knew each other. Three years later we bought a house in Okemos, where I currently live. Not only is Okemos in between Manistee and dearborn, but it also is a perfect balance of town and city. Growing up in different places has formed my split-preference for living. I love the city, but I also love the country. One day I party and shop downtown, the next I’m going fishing and sleeping in a tent. 

Throughout my life, I have always loved art and theatre. My favorite parts of school are after-school activities. The main one being the theatre department. My love of theatre has also led me to choir and dance. Participating in every school play and musical I can, I’ve managed to snag some lead roles. During school hours, my favorite class is art and literature. I’m a creative person, so I love activities that allow me to express myself. 

My current community is my favorite of the places I’ve lived. I appreciate the safer feeling it provides. However, I fear I will never feel safe in society as a whole, due to me being a young woman in a man’s world. Though my community is safer than most, my mom still tells me to carry mace when I go for a run. I can’t walk alone at night, and I have to be careful about what I drink when I’m out. Women shouldn’t have to be afraid of these things, but even in my safer community, we are. Feminism is one of the main movements I support and has become a big role in forming my identity.

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November 4, 2019 2:38 am

I enjoyed listening to your bio, and I found your story interesting. I am able to relate to you surely by the fact we both have come to Okemos from another town. I particularly enjoyed your last paragraph, despite not being a female, I am compelled to hear to what you have to say about gender-relations.

October 30, 2019 2:42 pm

My favorite subject in school is also Art, and also agree that Okemos is a good mix between city and rural.

October 29, 2019 2:37 pm

I liked the way that this is written. You have a very intriguing intro. Not only is the writing style nice to read but also the content itself is chalk full of awesome stuff about you. Reading about your whole history and heritage in your family is thrilling. I also loved when you talked about how you love art and theatre. It shows how complex one person can be by combining all aspects of their life into one bio.

October 15, 2019 6:32 pm

I loved this article and reading about your history!

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