The Brief

Would you give all it takes to put a pretty smile on your face? That, honestly, is a hard thing to request from someone whose feelings and emotions seem to live in a distant world where happiness and joy seem like imaginary phenomena. Even through my toughest times, I chose to smile, not because I'm fake, but because I refuse to spread negativity knowing that it's just as contagious as its counterpart. What would you chose to do?

The Story

Depression i s a hard word to speak about, but people need to get familiar with because of it s intensity. It grows, quite rapidly, especially in isolation, where its victim usually want s to be in. The slightest issue, the biggest problems, they all matter, and no one gets to determine what issue is termed slight or major. One person's perspective shouldn't cause another person's demise. Help should always be provided, whatever the case is.

Sometimes , I dislike talking about my problems in person, writing or even singing about them. I used to hate the feeling of vulnerability I feel when I speak out, because there are subtle social stigmas associated with doing that. Sometimes,we're pressured into projecting a happy outlook to people in public even if it's dishonest, and I wasn't a big fan of that, but now I think that there's some value to learn from it. I think people shouldn't be pressured into acting in ways that are dishonest or in dis-accordance with their sad feelings, but should rather be taught the benefits of projecting positive energy. One of which, I believe is a stable mental health. That being said, writing this song set me on a new emotional rock -- a positive one, and I can't deny that it actually does make me feel better to realize that someone somewhere going through some problems can listen and feel better -- and probably smile!

When I wrote "Smile!", I was squatting at Friend' s place after being kicked out of my home for not paying rent. I could barely even afford to feed myself at the time. I used to t ravel through the snow with Sneakers on, wearing a torn jacket just to find food at a nearby food-bank on campus. My parents' financial crisis, the devalued Nigerian currency (Naira), and being able to work part-time only as an international student had immersed me in both a financial and emotional mess. I was also recovering from a major heartbreak at the time. Honestly, I'd probably need to write a novel to share all the details, but a lot of things were going wrong within a short time and I pushed people away because of that. To some people, those things aren’t a big deal. Sometimes, I think back and think the same too. However, for the first time in my life, I had just had the idea of suicide inside my head, and that just shows that people respond differently to situations, because they have different strengths.

My Take

If you ask me, I think I'm lucky, honestly, because I only have that thought for a split second, before snapping back almost immediately and rebuking it. At that point, and for the first time, I had an understanding of what it is like for someone to have those thoughts, and how adversity breeds them.

I'd credit my upbringing for the extra layer of thickness to my skin. When I hear stories behind suicide sometimes, I feel like my actions could have been different if I had grown up differently, so when I sing about something like this, it's really because I'm done keeping quiet when I know I can speak out even if it' s to a small population. I want people to hear this and benefit from it. That would give joy to my heart and is what I care about the most -- to help.