Overcoming Darkness in Mieruko-chan

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Yali Perez
Yali Perez: The all around nerd who will lead you to victory in any quizzes! If it’s pop culture, she loves it and knows 72 random facts about it. Check out her podcast, YMUB, about her other love: makeup!

In Mieruko-chan, Miko Yotsuya is your typical teenager, just living out her daily life. She attends high school, hangs out with her best friend Hana and tries to keep her overprotective brother in check.

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Oh, and she can see ghosts. These spirits follow Miko around, beg for her attention and actively disrupt her life. So, Miko does the only thing she can do to deal with this unique situation—she ignores it. She feigns the perfect smile, even if her life might not be so perfect.

Yet, despite Mieruko-chan‘s foundation in the horror genre, the series is also quite funny and heartfelt. As I watched the series, an idea struck me: Don’t we all have ghosts that we ignore in our lives?

So many of us walk around followed by a force with power to shape our mood, day or life. It has the ability to alter its appearance, look like our loved ones, our hopes and even our darkest fears. You’re probably wondering what it is. It’s the little voice inside all of us, the one that speaks on behalf of our mental health. Kinda like ghosts.

Our anxieties, pressures and emotions can sometimes feel like ghosts that follow us around. Much like Miko, it might feel easier to just smile and pretend that this possessive entity isn’t trying to take us into a darker place. And, much like some of our own thoughts, the ghosts in Mieruko-chan are sometimes truly harmless.

While smiling might not be a substitute for finding the right solution to our troubles, or ghosts, it’s the intention of the smile that makes it such a powerful statement in overcoming darkness. It would probably be easier for Miko to let these spirits engulf her life, but she’s opting for normalcy. In that choice, she takes ownership of her life and makes herself the priority. She continues to live most moments, each day, as if there were no spirits at all.

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And for those of us struggling with feelings like this, Miko’s perspective and willpower can be something we look to put into practice for our own mental health. I’m not suggesting you pretend it doesn’t exist, but that you remind yourself of the you in all of it.

Choose to see the good in your life, like how Miko sees her family or Hana! Spend your days doing what you love and being around the ones you care about. Make self-care a priority!

Yes, there will always be days when you can’t simply ignore things. But that’s when you can turn to others. Even Miko relies on her friends and family when she needs help. It’s a normal part of life and absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.

Miko’s life isn’t perfect, but no one’s is! As you make your way through Mieruko-chan, you’ll find yourself laughing at the precarious situation Miko and friends find themselves in, or scared for them as well. But if you keep in mind the strength and bravery it takes for her to overcome the darkness, you can do it too.

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