While my feature photo above was taken in Chicago, Illinois and the words here below edited and published while on the mainland, much of what I spell out was written ‘in-flight’ during my recent travels. I began my curiosity of how genuine other people’s smiles are, way back when I noticed in my very own [older] photos, how genuine those smiles were. And to add, the more I looked back at historical photos and how most individuals before the 1940’s or so, did not smile, I figured there had to be other ideas and candor to their serious faces. Because today we smile for almost ‘anything’ as if life is safe in today’s society. We smile to confirm and affirm an approval from people we can honestly care less for. But at the end of the day, before we rest our eyes, what did we smile for today? I don’t think everyone has the same idea of a smile’s function, because only recently in time it became much easier to do so….Furthermore, I’ll share the story of my smile’s journey. (Photo by Deyen Smith)
August 17th, 2018

smiling because it’s a photo, or smiling because the world should know – but rather the latter.

Personally, I can argue that a smile can go a long way, because otherwise I wouldn’t be here. And the direction a smile goes is mostly to a good place, whether it be in the city or a place in your heart. Mo’ Pitney could tell you where country resides. Just smile and you’ll feel the southern comfort. As if the warm liquor taste down your throat embeds like sweat. And thus, the comfort, because that’s all you’ll do – is sweat.

But what’s a smile worth? Or does it depend on the eyes of the viewer? I’d also argue that a smile’s worth is determined by an individual’s candor, or humor for that matter.

Yet recently I found a smile to be a [luxury] for those who know best; genuine at heart. And the deep smiles are hard to truly express but most of us do it anyway for the camera [phone]; and the people they share the moment with. Essentially, creating an illusion of central happiness and hiding sorrows.

A smile only proves attractiveness today, otherwise most of us wouldn’t be friends.

So, in case I didn’t mention, the moment is what matters most. You determine whether a smile is appropriate to express to the world or not. It’s your world!

A smile can be nothing more than a break in this painful life, and maybe the vain of existence. We recognize the [dropped] face is the true expression of anyone going back to their deep troubles in life, and to only live in hope, for the next break in a smile – like an overcast sunny day.

“…as if a sun-break shining through the clouds is the bright & joy we were deeply looking forward to?”

From top left to bottom right: Jesse Joe, Ellen Joe-Washington, Bobby Jean Ridgeway, Mary Lee Joe-Stoglin, Charles Lee Joe, Dorothy Jean Malone – c. 1930s – Jonesboro, LA

Referring to the photo on the left, as the camera captured a moment of existence in time, I asked for why with a lack of smiles? Because to our generation it only reflects how they felt about heading back to an [oppressed] life. And once the photographer realizes these kinfolk ain’t looking any better, it’s on to the next.

A lessor smile as we see in the former era, told a story well put together depending on the individual. Allowing a photo to be worth a thousand words – whether it be collectively from different perspectives of a said story, or simply glorification.

Some kinfolk might say they didn’t smile because their lives didn’t allow for it. Working from dawn to dusk in conditions millennial’s wouldn’t dare to touch with a 10-foot pole. But we’d do it for the IG likes.

They often smiled, however, it just wasn’t always necessary despite a photo being taken. Because if you’re walking miles in the sun and heat for a family photo, that ends up next to a car you could’ve got picked up in…yet, it’s the 1930’s in Jonesboro, LA so your feet likely ran better. The photo is rich in history. Life was serious – you get the picture right?

My smile brightened once I better understood my story. And recognizing how GOD’s plan for me, was nothing more than something I needed to jump start after the first couple attempts. Which then I learned giving up hurts, it’s like failing to fail.

For years it felt I had no reason to smile – but it was the easiest thing to do in the hardest of times so it became natural. Can’t you tell?

More importantly, I recognized my potential in life after reading a journal my mother wrote about me she starting a day after my birth. So as she did, I laid my life down on paper and started fresh in the mind.

And being the creator I am, I found the broken pieces and fixed it. My smile was mostly exhausted during this time as the Rasta warrior, Jah ‘like’ mentality was immoral.

But for what it’s worth, I manifested a story, then I manifested a better one for the world to see.

My mother’s words were the fire to my lifestyle to say the least. And through her words that I read in 2013, that she wrote back in 1986, reminded me of my true smiles I first established here on earth. So, I had no choice but to smile during my life’s time of turbulence – I couldn’t end her story over financial burdens and other people’s choices.

I wrote more about this Journal a few months back, follow the link: Sky’s the Limit – VD

And because of my smile, I ended up six figures above the burden. But it’s all speculation and assumptions because I could soon argue [seven].

Or, broke.

I had many chances over several years to give up, but smiling ended up being easier. And I didn’t want to miss my father’s departure from life on earth.

My discordance for respect brought me to showing off my enthusiastic lifestyle. This is how I create meaning. It’s how I justify my bright smile as well.

But at the end of my day, I fall back on my failures because that’s who I feel I truly am – you all have the blessing to see my success because you’re an attribute to it.

So, thank you for reading this far.

I feel that my words are no more symbolic of influential to people who empathize with my story, than those not in hardship.

At this moment, I’m flying over the Pacific; to be specific, heading to Hawaii – reminiscing the time(s) I couldn’t comprehend my complex life. A smile once forced because it was easy, but also taken for granted because life wasn’t easy.

Easy got me happy. Easy got me to smile. And maybe the universe once mistook my deceitfully smiles. But in essence, I’m paying back the dues I owe to the energy in the universe through my genuine smiles today! ……R.I.P. Eazy Baby.

The network of people I encounter daily are often curious of my smile, so I share my story more freely now.

It would be deceitful to hide it. And a lie of omission to not share it. So, as black excellence goes, ‘ima let em’ see!

Back in Jonesboro, LA – I trust that my smile shines as bright as the descendants of Joe, and Mixon’s if you truly know our story.

So, as their smiles faded further away, our tears emerge from the dirt out our body – salty as the sea so the ocean reminds us where we came from. But more importantly, where we belong.

“…and when the blood in your veins returns to the sea, and the earth in your bones returns to the ground, perhaps then you will remember that this land does not belong to you, it is you who belongs to this land.”

– unknown (Native American)

Maybe that’s why some of our ancestors jumped back in en route. But I could also argue wordplay on that….?

For me, today, I smile for you all – especially the lost ones of our [past] lifetime because it wasn’t easy for them. As most smiles symbolize hope into the next, I also smile for the world to know.



All donors upon request, will be provided a link to download the audio recording of ‘AN EYE BETWEEN MY HAIKU‘. You’ll have the opportunity to hear my beautiful voice develop — I will also include the PDF manuscript of the book!

Either way your support, I appreciate you!



Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, I began publishing content on VehicleDigest the Instagram account, now BuddWrites, to inspire my creative mind. Today, VehicleDigest.net is the publishing platform for content related to Budd's books, speaking endeavors, and art. “The world around us is our vehicle, what you'll read is how I digest it.” -Budd

5 Comment on “.Smile

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