In all my silence, in all of my lack of response, and ultimately, my lack of communication, I have found that one thing is true of people like me.

You learn more about people if you merely observe.

I’ve found that by watching other people, their bad habits, their politics, their views on life in action, that I can better understand myself through my reaction to other people.

Give me a moment to explain what I mean.

All my life, I have been one of those people who learned through watching others. I made a few mistakes on my own here and there, but I mainly saw how other people acted and treated each other, then formed my own opinions on how others should be treated and how I should act. I feel as though I learn from other people’s mistakes, yet I am still not quite on the right track.

A good example of this would be watching my mother. I love her dearly, but I learned a lot from her just by watching her take step after step in the wrong direction. Growing up, she had a sign in the house that said, “If you want your children to follow in your footsteps, be careful where you place your feet”, yet it wasn’t anything that she followed.

Granted, my mother is blunt and funny at times, but she was also an alcoholic with a temper who would sooner punish me over nothing than admit she was wrong. What I called defending myself, she called talking back.

How did I learn from this? I learned that you should treat people how you wanted to treat them and that alcohol was something to be shunned. I have never been drunk and I have never done any drugs whatsoever. I chose a clean lifestyle because I saw what alcohol did to my mother during my childhood. I didn’t want to be that person yelling at everyone because I was belligerent and drunk.

I saw kids at school goofing off and not absorbing the information. I saw kids basically piss away their future because they would rather have a social life than learn to read and write. To this day, I find that I am angry at the state of American schools…but mostly the kids who go there.

My childhood wasn’t all bad. My family taught me to read from a very young age. They worked with me, especially my grandmother. Instead of video games, they bought me books, and I was always thrilled at the prospect of getting my hands on something new to read. Part of the reason my vision is so bad was because I would strain to read in the dark. Other kids wanted to stay up to watch television. I wanted to get lost in a world of words.

If I ever have children, I want to bless them with that gift as well. I want them to be readers and writers. I want them to flourish creatively and be able to express themselves. I was lucky enough to have a supportive family that encouraged my singing and acting from third grade up. I was lucky to have a family that loved the fact that I wrote poetry and short stories, even if I wouldn’t let them read them because they were “heavy” for a kid my age.

I look at today’s youth and I just shake my head. Most of them tlk an right like dys and it troubles me. The intelligent people of this country wonder why the rest of the world think we are just a bunch of redneck illiterates, but look at the fact that we mostly ARE illiterate.

Don’t think of your immediate circle of friends. Look at people you went to high school with. How many of them form actual words and sentences with correct grammar and punctuation? How many of them have witty status updates on facebook that aren’t just OMG I GOT WASSTED LAST NIGHT AT TEH PARTY. How many of them seem truly intelligent to you?

Now think of those people and the fact that they don’t read. They can barely write. That or something isn’t quite clicking with them. I’ve found that the friends I am the closest to are the ones who read and write like they are actually intelligent. Everyone else is just filler because as arrogant as it sounds, they just aren’t on my level.

This isn’t to say that I find myself to be more intelligent than other people – look at me. I’m pretty much disabled because of mental illnesses, never went to college, was never able to keep a job because of mental illness. I am the last person in the world who should be ragging on someone for intelligence that is based on society’s standards. But I am also of the belief that just because you went to college and passed does not mean that you are more intelligent. I know people who went to college and have great jobs, but they don’t read and they can barely write or spell.

I guess I am more about being literate than other people, or maybe I am an elitist brat, but based on observations, I wonder how people can’t see for themselves why people in America are viewed as narrow-minded illiterates.

Don’t even get me started on the fact that people would rather fund wars than our public school system. That really chaps my hide.

In retrospect, I’m glad that I am one of those people who observe and absorb. I may not be college-educated, but observing people on the whole has made me realize the kind of person I am and the kind of person I would rather be. I see people based on what they give me, and it helps me focus on the person I want to be and helps me take the right steps by learning about their missteps.

Do you?

EDIT: And as always, don’t share this with my mother. Thank you. She wouldn’t understand.