To Watch Them Thrive

Below is a piece I would consider to accurately represent my experience of my first three years of high school. I feel like it depicts my comfort in the safety of watching very well, as well as my fear of being exposed to others without knowing who I am or what I am doing. Likewise, this made me a rather cautious individual, and I would say that I was very hard to fully open up. This year I have made a much greater conscious effort towards explaining the importance of the role I found for myself. As a watcher, I am able to gain a second-hand experience in anything. And, I have found that a lot of this is due to a certain man in my life, who has shown me a life I never saw myself living.

There is a man in my life. He showed me what it meant to regret. He had been ridiculed. Mocked. Discarded. Even he only found his purposes in shining the light for others. And as hard as it is to say, I find that the only reason I now strive to fulfill my own needs is due to his influence. It cannot be any more clear to me that I must take up his mantle, and bring only as much glory to it as he could have ever predicted. I never did understand him though. He spoke so poetically yet, at the same time, he created such structure with his words. I’ll never forget that man. I watched him everyday and decided that, if anything, that is how I want to spend the rest of my life. He never really knew me though. I always just watched. That is my role. To watch. And in watching, I learn. I see the outcome of my decisions prior to making them. Here, I am safest. No harm can come to me if I watch. Watching is harmless. I am simply taking a longer glance at the ballroom before deciding to dance. Taking my audience into account. Seeing who is doing what and how they are managing to do so. Watching.

Growing up was a real pain. Although I can still be considered growing, I figure that it’s about time I can say that. You never really know what you’re ever doing. Or why for that matter. You’re just doing it to fulfill a smaller, less significant purpose. One which is temporary, perhaps only granting the satisfaction for a few hours before craving for more. If you don’t know what you’re doing, how will you know when you are finished? Will the task ever be complete? Of course not. One task always leads towards the other. But how are others already finished then? Could it be that they have found a magic powerful enough to lift their curse? Of course not. I had to have found it by now. Regardless, I am still working. Laboring day and night. Looking for an answer. After far too many failed attempts, I turn around to see my fellow “companions” have already gone ahead. Left me here. No one left to watch. I was exhausted, and my lack of motivation gave no advantage to my own self esteem. Weeks went by and, I still lacked enough motivation to complete my mission. The mission granted to me from my birth. The one I never got. Miraculously, I managed to barely find my answer. And when I thought I was done, on came the second question. That’s when he showed up.

He in the only one I can remember who ever came back. Although I was caught up to my peers now, I was still focused on this one man. By right, given his amount of experience, he should’ve been far ahead by now. But he wasn’t. He was right there, in front of me, working with me. And without even knowing, he became my mentor. Somehow, he knew I feared what was to come, for I didn’t know what there was. He showed me what the future could hold. What it could look like. He was the one that showed me that I could create my own fate. My own destiny. And I believed that. Under him, I could learn so much. Where could he have gotten such knowledge from? I wished to question him on the matter, but could not push myself past the first step. I had nothing to give in return. What would he benefit from me? Was I worthy? How would he react? Instead, I continued to follow the crowd. I worked – looking for the answer once again to a question I didn’t know. One by one, my “companions” began to advance. Soon, it was only him and me. I feared that he would leave as fast as possible if I questioned him, hence I decided to continue to work in silence, and watch him. That same day, he left. But before doing so, he turned to look at me. And smiled.

Confused and frustrated, I didn’t know what to do next. I figured that I might meet him again eventually, if I worked hard enough. But the moment he saw me, I felt something change. The moment I saw his smile, I knew something was off. Intrigued, and ambitious, I worked as hard as possible, and soon met him. When I went, I saw him. Countless emotions filled me as I gathered up the courage to seek him. I wanted to thank him. I realized that not everybody is meant to dance. When I finally came closer, I saw him alone on stage, in front of everybody. And he was dancing. And I was watching.

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2 thoughts on “To Watch Them Thrive

  1. Dear Muhammad,

    You have several very interesting ideas here: lack of direction and motivation, a mentor, comfort, and influence to name a few. I appreciate writing that can be interpreted to mean very different things to different audiences. Such writing isn’t niche. While being niche isn’t necessarily a negative thing, it certainly means that such writing can be lost on many readers. Your blog can be interpreted in several ways and speaks on a wide variety of topics, which makes it accessible to a wide range of individuals. I love your idea about watching from the sidelines, pondering over one’s next move. I really relate to this mentality and understand the safety of engaging in life as a mere observer. I can also tell that you put your heart into this blog, and that you have really pondered over the ideas you bring out. It’s always riveting to read over work that captures the author’s thoughts in their rawest forms.

    To me, this piece almost seems like a stream of consciousness; the appearance of new ideas and themes seemed very organic. I do feel that your blog suffered from a lack of a unifying theme. You jump from idea to idea in a way that may be logical to you, but readers do not have the same insight into your thoughts as you do. This blog is jam-packed with excellent ideas, but none of them felt satisfactorily developed to me. Perhaps it would make more sense if you flesh out ideas before moving on. Several questions came to my mind when reading this. Who is the man, the mentor? Why is he at the same “level” as the narrator? What was “off” about his smile? Why does the boy find himself left behind his peers? I found your blog very intriguing, and would love to get some answers to the multitude questions it left in my mind.

    Thanks for another inspiring blog!


  2. Dear Muhammad,
    I had never realized how creative of an individual you are. Sure, I noticed that you could come up with unique ideas occasionally, but I’d never really thought that you were the type of person who would think over their ideas in an effort to make them artful. On the outside, you’d always seemed like that impulse-driven individual who would, and I quote, “go with the flow”. During moments where I could see your cleverness, however, I could see the watcher putting his observations to good use. In these moments, it was obvious that your actions weren’t impulsive, for they seemed very deliberate and thought out. In that sense, this piece offers an explanation for this phenomenon that has piqued my curiosity: I now have a better understanding of those moments where you seemed to have the look in your eye of an excited traveller who had finally reached his destination. Furthermore, I feel as if I’ve subliminally emulated your method of watching; in hindsight, I feel as if my desire to act as an observer in my environments stems from my envy of your own proficiency in analyzing your surroundings. You’ve improved quite a bit as a writer (I taught you well…just kidding!), and at quite an alarming rate as well. By continuously working to improve, since you’ve never really been an individual to blatantly surrender to the challenges of your environment, your writing pieces seem to be constantly evolving, growing from the critique of others… I sure have a lot more to learn from you!

    When I first read your writing that wasn’t a rushed school assignment that you had procrastinated, I was intrigued by the difference in your method of articulation. Whereas in person you’d just give a few details about a subject in our discussions, you’re completely shifted as a writer. Your mind is truly monstrous in and of itself, in that it formulates various different thoughts about your surroundings at a frightening speed, some arbitrary, some contemporary, yet all of them with a purpose. This is a result of your “watcher” mentality, which I feel has rubbed off on me (contrary to my initial beliefs that I was fortunate enough to have some of my more positive qualities influence your character). Something which I’ve truly come to enjoy – and even emulate – in your writing are your varying sentence lengths. For an unfocused reader such as myself, your sentences vary at the perfect rate: you metaphorically hit me with short sentences before I become lost in your words, and I’m blessed with a long sentence when my mind craves for an explanation of your ideology.

    The title of this piece is of great interest to me, as it misleads me into thinking your piece would be speaking about the envy that individuals may feel seeing the success of others. My presumption was incorrect. While the piece did incorporate the thriving of other individuals, it shows a certain contentment in doing so. Even admiration. That is what I feel to be the secret of successfully observing others: to observe out of admiration, and not out of envy or judgement. This quality of yours has nurtured your analytical ability to a frightening level, which makes my own aspect as a “watcher” appear to be a partial imitation of a beautiful whole. The focus of the piece on a single individual, who remained unidentified to the very end, speaks to me about the sometimes unseen significance an individual may have in your life. I feel as if Initially, this significance always unnoticeable, but if you take the time to properly see the individual for who they are, you can find the interconnectedness that lies there.

    Since you checked this piece over with me before actually posting it, I made sure to leave at least a few errors that I could reprimand you for. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t really do any of those things, because I did not have the privilege of previewing your blog post before you published it. Something which I feel like you could work on would be the structure of your paragraphs. While they’re short enough so that my eyes don’t skim over the paragraphs, they all seem to be just about the exact same length. Furthermore, I feel as if short, one sentence ‘paragraphs’ could amplify the emotional effect of some of your more powerful lines, such as the final “And I was watching”, which, I feel, could’ve been a separate paragraph.

    Overall, Muhammad, you’ve made me proud to be able to call you my little brother. You have a deep understanding of some things which you’re always very humble about. Your words contain a great level of thought behind them without having to employ overly sophisticated language, and it’s really the simplicity of some of your words that makes this piece beautiful. Being able to learn with you has truly been a gift that I’ve been given, and it’s one that I hope I don’t squander. Please allow me to continue learning from you as I watch you, because, in my eyes, you’re the one dancing, and I’m the one watching.

    Humbly Yours,

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