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Disintegrate the Black Hole

What a cartoon taught me about prioritizing chores.

By Meredith BellPublished 3 years ago 4 min read
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Dirty Dishes by Podis on Dribble

I'm a 30-something-year-old child. In the best sense, I'm silly with a vibrant imagination and an affinity for cute stuffed animals. In the worst sense, I throw regular internal tantrums whenever I have to do household chores.

Yet this 30-something-year-old also manages to work full-time, pay pesky bills, and quite enjoys having a tidy apartment. Surprisingly, I do function at adulting.

I'd just rather be running around in a sunny field like a Muppet than do my dishes.

So how do I marry the disdain for chores with the joy of having a clean habitat?

Enter Kim Ku

Kim Ku is a printmaker, designer, and illustrator. I first started following her on Instagram after seeing one of her cute daily comics.

Depicting herself as a round bespectacled blob with noodly arms and legs and a gravity-defying black ponytail, Ku visually guides us through her daily life and reflections in amusing and relatable gray-scale panels.

Recently, she posted a comic about the concept of the black hole. I was unfamiliar with this notion until I scrolled through her illustrations.

Our procrastination feeds the plaguing thought until our brain space is occupied by this black hole of shoulds.

We spend more energy, more time, and more headspace on not doing the task than it would have taken to actually just complete it.

Don't Feed the Black Hole

I've always been a procrastinator.

In college, I'd start writing papers a day before the deadline. At work, I'll mull over a project until I absolutely have to get it done. Hell, I was even late being born. Procrastination is in my genetic makeup.

Yet, I've noticed that I'm getting tired of the mental energy I waste by putting things off. Especially by avoiding housework. I may still be a kid at heart, but I also enjoy living in a clean and comfortable space.

And lettings things pile up until I force myself to do a daunting and massive spring cleaning session just doesn't jive for me anymore.

How do I achieve a balance?

'I Will Wash You But I Won't Like It'

Inadvertently, I've been testing out this black hole concept long before I saw Ku's comic. Her illustrations, however, made me aware of what I was doing on a daily basis.

The other morning, I walked into my bathroom. As I brushed my teeth I thought, "I should clean the sink..." but instead mentally ran away screaming. My inner child was not having it.

The black hole was birthed.

Later in the day, walking through my living room, dirt particles crunched beneath my bare feet. "Um, I reeeeeally should vacuum..." proclaimed the responsible adult side of my brain. Actual me just brushed off my soles and plunked myself on the couch.

The black hole expanded.

Finally, that night, after visiting with neighbors, I popped back over to my place to cook myself dinner. I pulled out a sirloin steak and bunch of kale from the fridge and plopped them on the kitchen table. A simple meal. The only problem?

My counter and stovetop were covered with dirty plates, glasses, and pans.

Ugh.

I was tired. It had been a long day. I just wanted that meat in my belly.

Ugh.

I contemplated only washing the pans I actually needed and leaving the remaining pile to fester.

The black hole ballooned.

And that's when it finally clicked.

Stop feeding the black hole and just do it. I won't like it, but I'll do it.

Reclaiming My Mental Energy

First, I washed the pans I needed to cook dinner. Then, as the kale sizzled in olive oil and the fat of the sirloin crackled in my cast-iron, I plunged my hands into hot, soapy water and scrubbed the remnants of egg yolk from my plates.

By the time my dinner was ready, all of my dishes were clean and my countertop sparkled. It took ten whole minutes. Ten.

The black hole shrunk.

Fresh. Shiny. Adulting.

Of course I didn't want to initially wash dishes. I wanted to relax on the couch. But having a clean kitchen brought bliss. It didn't take that long at all. And that felt pretty damn good.

And the next day, when I stumbled into the kitchen to brew morning tea, I wasn't faced with a nasty stack of congealed plates staring back at me. I reaped the benefits of my minimal labor and that felt gooooood.

It dawned on me that I've been feeding the black hole all of my adult life. In my 20s, the black hole had all the power. I would actually have to do marathon spring cleanings as a result of my housework procrastination. And I didn't enjoy that.

Now, in my 30s, I find that once I think of vacuuming, doing laundry, or washing dishes and then immediately doing that chore, I miraculously haven't wasted any mental energy. Plus, I get to reap the easy bonus of a clean apartment.

Break Down That Black Hole

If cleaning seems daunting to you, use Kim Ku's comic as inspiration.

Break up household tasks into small, manageable bits so you can do them daily.

That way you aren't faced with days of dreaded spring cleaning when the sun is shining and the birds are chirping.

We don't have to like doing chores, but getting them done when we first think about them shrinks that black hole of wasted energy and allows us to reclaim that time for ourselves.

Then we can truly enjoy spring doing whatever our inner child wants to do.

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If you enjoyed Kim Ku's art, follow her and her daily comics on Instagram.

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About the Creator

Meredith Bell

Hopeful Polyglot | Stagnant Artist | Buoyant Traveler | Perpetually Silly

I dabble in words that hopefully evoke some kinda feeling in you.

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