A Candid Essay on Self-Evaluation by Miyake Keinaka

Mental health––often left unchecked, is over scrutinized.

This, because our perception has suddenly changed.


Or at least, that had always been the case for me. When old habits are not handled with consistency, a fixed routine becomes a daily event that instead injects me with a foreign sensation, a loss of purpose. Simply––I had forgotten to peer up at the landscapes. It felt as if I had pressured myself too much in the region of work and less on self-sensation, self-pleasure, and essentially a short break was all that’s needed to re-evaluate a life that’s starting to feel futile and soulless.

In the year of academic validation, in walking through curtains of epiphanies, in experiencing a momentary curve of isolation, I expected such: a year of lost experiences, time, and social opportunities. However, while that may be the case, I for one had found that being in the trappings of oneself had provided me with much more company. I speak from an ambivert perception who once gravitated towards an extroverted demeanor. Staying home and experiencing its nesting functions for the first time had elicited creative challenges to have ‘fun’ within the home’s proximity without any external help. Hence, it was what led me to pick up a book, an instrument, and to fulfill that inner spark of guilty pleasures I once ached to express to the outside world due to the insecurity of judgments. The truth is, I was walking down my own path for once, discovering my own trails and evaluating through every tree, flower, and mushrooms I had encountered in my journey. It was pleasurable. Frankly, I was much more open to finding comfort in uncomfortableness for the first time in my life. It became one of those moments where I enjoyed everything I once found so unpleasant, to the extent where I would wake up crying because I felt so much joy. And with every response to how I was doing, even on gloomy days, I would confidently reply: ‘I’ve never been happier.’

Losing touch of those mutual friendships before the pandemic did not succumb to loss, but it was more an event of priority. In seeking the actual value of companionship for those who decided to link arms with you even till distance do us part can make you feel a lot more ease. Knowing, that they are all you need in life, and the rest is yours to maintain. With this, the unfortunate part is how our daily source of pop culture entertainment begins to shut down and postpone. Social media is bland even more boring than it already was. So much of scrolling through those who seize every opportunity outside to take cute pictures of themselves and make you a little bit insecure with the lack of productivity you encounter from staying in bed all day. Evaluating the life of others was an unnecessary nuisance to life. Though with the click of a red crossed button, all of those insecurities dissipated into thin air. And so the soul search began. The exploration of the personal wanes through contemporary art, film, music, musings, and whatever dominates my spirit during a brief period of being present with my surroundings. Noticing every minor crack from the walls to the ceilings, remembering every placement of the orchids that you gaze upon every morning as you meditate, as you stretch and very slowly––focus on your breath. The exploration of personal embarked a journey through commitment. Of waking up at five in the morning with the sound of music, rolling out of bed, and immediately rushing to the bathroom to wash your face with cold water and glaze your teeth with the fresh breath of mint. Alongside, exercising, making my own bed, staying off the screen from morning and before bed while indulging myself in a good novel and some green tea. (Camomile, on special occasions) It was bliss, a transcendental experience.
Doesn’t it sometimes feel like you could have done more? When we look back at our accomplishments. Doesn’t that drive you to challenge yourself for the real world, being able to control the workload, being able to do it all? It always seems that way when headed on a good path. A ‘bring it on’ moment sought to the universe. The drive to strive is a drive to meet deadlines, the beauty of it is almost so trivial. And while we hone the discipline to strive and work, the value of what pleasurable time we have with our hobbies and ourselves disintegrate through the choice we make to make it a later priority. Slowly and very quickly, the habit of storing things for later embarks from the fear of procrastination that attracts us to spiral into a different vortex in which we lose touch of the habits we used to hone that gave us the sentiment needed to ease our soul. Simultaneously, we fall apart into a foreign place of our own being, dazed, trying to pinpoint the root of this unpleasurable and numb feeling. Suddenly, life reciprocates and ‘you can’t do it all’.

This is where you fall

And get back up again.

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