Underrated Superpowers: Listening and Watching
Updated: May 23, 2022
If the abusers and alcoholics in my life sentenced me to silence, then in silence I learned and became acute. Who knew listening and watching could be such powerful skills? The kind of skills that make you smart and may just save your life?
While I could not speak or act to defend myself, I observed. I figured people out, read clues in their behavior, gained insight into their motives and modes of operation. I trained in espionage from early on, whether at the dinner table or behind my desk in parochial school. In reading people, I myself became a book, a manual on character and on ways to preserve myself against the depths and excesses of character. While I may have seemed mute and passive, I was not. I was gathering evidence; I was educating myself on humankind, on how the world worked. I didn’t need to be a detective or a psychologist to fathom the intricacies of the heart or the complexities of the mind. It was all right there in front of me. A play in performance, and I, its harshest critic.
Silent watchers get ignored and dismissed. How easy then, to creep up unannounced and unnoticed, to be sly and wise without anyone suspecting. To prepare to disarm the armed, unmask the masked, penetrate the impenetrable. Like something that flickers in the corner of an eye, that might just be a beacon of hope or a harbinger of transformation.
I was a fly on the wall. I was a rat in the sewer.