In Which Cleaning is a Metaphor and My Personal Hell

responsibility Every now and then, I’d like to think there are a few people outside the Dallas Comedy House (DCH) community who peruse the blog and think, “I’ve been thinking about taking a class forever. Maybe I should jump on it and register.” It’s like the old saying about the best time to plant a tree was 15 years ago. The next best time is today.

There are plenty of clever analogies for signing up for a class or doing that ambiguous thing you’ve been thinking about doing. Instead of doing that, I’m going to compare the impossible to cleaning. I promise it will make sense in a little bit.

For many people, you are confused by this chosen metaphor because cleaning is an everyday life sort of thing whereas performing improvisational comedy live on stage is a more rare occurrence. But in my case, improvisational comedy is my norm. I love performing, whether it be on stage or within a small group of friends, whereas cleaning sends me into panic attacks filled with crying and a confused dog bringing me toys that I just tried to put in the cardboard donation box.

In the brilliant blog, Hyperbole and a Half, Allie Brosh has a specific post entitled “This is Why I’ll Never be an Adult” in which she makes fun of the overwhelming nature of responsibility. One of those poorly drawn self-portraits has become a meme, with her stick-like MS Paint drawn arm raised high, broom in hand as she cries, “Clean ALL the things!” She then spirals out of control and avoids those tasks by jumping into the rabbit hole that is the Internet. That is me. I find every reason not to deal with something I know I should do, allowing the floors to pile up with books and dog toys and laundry that didn’t quite make it to the laundry basket. Instead, I find things to blame. It has gotten to a point where I will claim that I watched Netflix instead of cleaning because I was doing “research.”

“Oh, really,” my husband said once. “What sort of research?”

“For a blog!” I responded.

“A blog for the Dallas Comedy House? Something related to anxiety?”

“Yes! That’s exactly it.”

He nodded, lips pursed in understanding. Then he said, “So instead of doing the dishes—like you promised me you would—you spent five hours watching The Great British Baking Show, which is probably the calmest show on the planet?”

Desperate excuses. But then there’s that moment, isn’t there? That moment when enough is enough and you have to clean up your apartment and your life. Perhaps it’s that Marie Kondo book that hits a little too close to home. Possibly a newsletter article announcing a free online workshop that will teach you the coding skills you need.

Maybe it’s a job opportunity that fell through and you have one night in your schedule that is open for a class at DCH. (You see! I told you I’d bring it back around! Well, I inferred it, but still! High five!)

Now, I’m not a believer in signs—I’m no fan of The Secret hooey, ladies and gents. However, I do think that there are opportunities we are missing because we choose to avoid them out of fear or some sort of obligation. Then when these opportunities are finally obvious to us, we latch onto them as signs from the universe telling us that now is the time to do the thing. When really that’s just us relinquishing whatever reasons we were holding onto because we recognize that we’re ready.

KC Ryan is currently a Level 4 student at DCH. An office worker by day, she spends her nights writing, improvising, recording podcasts, and having existential crises. She’s a co-host of Parsec Award-nominated podcast Anomaly Supplemental about general sci-fi and fantasy topics. Her greatest achievement so far is convincing her husband to watch Project Runway.

(Image: Allie Brosh)