Lines15 August, 2011
When I was in college I took a course in Ancient Greek. I remember two things from that class quite distinctly. The first is the abject horror I felt sitting down to a textbook that was unreadable. With the romance languages you work with the Roman alphabet, so you can haltingly read the language before you are able to understand it; by engaging the text it helped you become familiar with the language and sped up the process of learning it. Ancient Greek, however, is more than a new language, it is also a new alphabet. Nothing looks familiar. It was necessary to start over from the beginning studying a whole new system for reading, writing, and creating meaning. Of making the scrawling lines make sense.
The other aspect I will never forget is the day those lines finally made sense. I was sitting in the classroom watching Fritz write on the board trying to recognize individual letters. Suddenly the random seeming lines shifted into focus and one word popped into my head: anthropos. I hadn’t read the word, per say, rather it was almost an instinctual recognition. The lines made sense. They weren’t random chicken scratchings, but an organized method of conveying thoughts.
As I go through the transition process, I look in the mirror and I see only lines. I’m tired of seeing only lines. I see my ex-relationship, I see a chin that’s too strong, I see feminine eyes set beneath a masculine brow. I see parts but no whole and I’m tired. I’m tired of not seeing the whole. I’m tired of seeing only lines when I want to read the language.