Yesterday, I got caught up in the bustle of the office, tutoring and cooking and didn’t write. Once I realized I wouldn’t have time for creative thought, I got angry. I resented the spinach, the missing ginger, the bowl — the anger wasn’t about dinner, but it was hard to wrestle myself away from the train of thought. Falling into a routine is easy for me when it comes to working and eating. Emotions, exercise and writing practices are harder to maintain even though they can overlap.
Last year, I was prepping for my first interview with Darren King from MUTEMATH when I came across the video for “Typical,” a single from their first album. Filmed backwards, the energy and passion that came through in the video was electrifying. My roommate walked in. “Why are you watching a MUTEMATH video?”
“Oh, you know who they are? I’ve got an interview with Darryl? Darren? tomorrow.” A lot of yelling followed (“You’re doing WHAT?! With Darren?! Darren KING?”).
Turns out that MUTEMATH is her favorite band. When she asked someone if he had any questions for Darren, his response was “Can you break the spell of the typical?”
As much as we still joke about that question, it’s not easily answerable. Letting routines become typical means that process changes from something you do to something you are. That transition makes it more difficult to change your behavior to work past the negative bits because once it becomes typical, you’re living it.
Recently, I’ve had some serious slip ups in mindfulness. Like last night’s kitchen freak out, they’ve been triggered by realizations of the time constraints in my life. With my tutees’ finals coming up, I’m going to plan out how to keep my good habits going so I don’t start regularly turning into a giant green rage monster.
As the song goes, “Cause I know there’s /Got to be another level /Somewhere closer to the other side /And I’m feeling like it’s now or never. /Can I break the spell of the typical?” It’s possible that, even if you try to change, something that is typical to you leaves an indelible mark on your person. I choose not to believe that, and will instead do something every day to change my routine.
Though I may not rip up keytars or get covered in paint to break up my day like MUTEMATH does in the video, I still have the power to practice happiness and kindness. I choose that.
Title from MUTEMATH’s “Typical.” There’s also a video from Jimmy Kimmel Live of them performing the song backwards. IN ONE TAKE. The sound is pretty crazy because it’s backwards, but it’s really freakin’ cool to watch.