Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Shock Value of a Photo Album

You know that sick feeling you get when you see a class portrait of yourself from, say, fifth grade?  That gut-churning embarrassment?  Well, maybe you don't feel sick.  Maybe you feel awesome because you were the coolest kid and your parents took you to Chuck E. Cheese all the time and you got the best grades in school but people liked you anyway because they recognized your value as a person, and you didn't go through that awkward pre-adolescent stage that involved you crying into your pillow every night because no one could ever possibly love you. 

But the rest of us cringe. We see awful hair, teeth before braces, fashions that never should have been created.  We suddenly see ourselves from a different viewpoint.  Here is an accurate, true-to-life representation of our actual appearance ten, fifteen, or twenty years ago (bad hair days notwithstanding).  I really wore that, we muse.  I seriously chose to look like that?
Although my grade-school pictures are certainly nothing I will ever brag about (ask my mom about the Gap-Toothed Wonder I was at age nine), I'm finding that, for me, a much more accurate picture of who I really was can be found in my writing. 

Thursday was my day off, and, in between loads of laundry and snacking on Skittles, I found myself, unsurprisingly, in front of the computer.  I determined that I would not entirely waste the day, and so I started this blog to work on my writing and engage in some serious self-examination.  In scanning through files of old skits, plays, short stories (all unfinished, of course), photos, and blogs, I was fascinated.  Some of the things I wrote, and some of the things I felt seriously astonished me.  

I wrote my first blog on November 20, 2006.  It was a Monday.  I know this because myspace tells me so.  It was a light and fluffy thing simply introducing myself to social networking.  The very second blog (posted a mere eight hours later) delved immediately into the spiritual, the emotional and the physical with lines like, "I've decided that my kids will know from the womb that there is no such thing as Santa Claus."  Pretty hard-core, no? I think I've always been sincere in my writing, sometimes nakedly so.  There are no veils to disguise or guard, nothing to shield myself against attack.  I've come full-circle.  There were moments that showed I did understand what taking the high road meant, what forgiveness is and that I had to swallow my pride many, many times.  I relived the emotions that drove me to write about the unexpected loss of my job at Starbucks, being harassed by a married man who misunderstood our friendship, painful moments in my relationship with my mother, the joys and trials of my faith, the wonderful moments of laughter and warmth with friends and family, and the hollow ache of feeling alone.

When I was eleven I was so afraid of who I was and how others would perceive me that I was always silent.  Now that I am an adult and have little anxiety about what people really think, I open myself like a book, and I am black ink on stark white pages.  And, while I am embarrassed at what were once my feelings, opinions and values, I am also able to look back at my former self and smile.  It was a rough journey, believe you me, but it's one that led me to where I am today.  And I wouldn't change it for the world.

I'm just hoping that, when I look back on these moments years from now, they're better than the crimped bangs from junior high.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


There comes a time in each and every new relationship where one person sticks out that hand - a show of potential friendship, and proof of being unarmed.  This, friends, is that time.  My hands, for one, are freshly washed, I've showered for the day, and I'm about as normal as I'll ever appear, so, please allow me to introduce myself.

My name is Rebecca Godlove, but up until January 9, 2010, I was Rebecca Thielet.  This blog will likely trail behind me like a fearless, wagging puppy on my adventures through the early years of marriage.  There may be times when I will have to clean up after it, but I should hope it will bring me mostly pleasure.  The blog, I mean, not the marriage.  Well...I guess, when you think about it...probably both.

I will likely end up telling the story of my life, at least to begin with, with notes posted on other social networking sites.  But it's a lot to handle all at once so I don't plan on burdening anyone with those details right away.  Let's talk later about who I was, but right now about who I am.

I'm was very recently married to a wonderful man named Ross who happens to spoil me more than any man ought to, who is silly and loving and hard-working and all those things that parents pray for their daughters find in a man.  Ross loves Dr. Pepper, fast cars, the Iowa Hawkeyes, Twinkies, and Siberian Huskies.  What makes Ross who he is, however, is his love for Jesus.  And that is what made me fall in love with him.  It's the first thing you notice when you meet him, even if you can't quite identify it.  It shines more brightly than his wonderful bald head.  It's more brilliant than his bright blue eyes.  This man loves his Lord with all his heart and it shows in everything he does - every sacrifice he makes, every gift he gives, every word he speaks.  

And yet he married me.  Poor dear.

Who am I, then?  I'm a work in progress - a messed-up pile of laziness, pride and fear smooshed together with hope, compassion and cautious joy.  I spent years trying to make my words sound like someone else's, trying to force my words out of other people's mouths - or speaking their words out of my own.  I worried because I did not 'sound' like a Christian, nor did I 'sound' like a heathen.  My plays and short stories featured poorly-written characters who, like me, were dragged back and forth between humility and vanity, heaven and hell, acceptance and rejection.  I possessed too much sarcasm for a 'good' Christian and too many virtues to be a 'normal' college student.  I spent too much time sitting on the fence and I ended up feeling mighty uncomfortable.  I am only now coming to realize the things God has in store for me and the plans he has had written for millennia concerning my life. 

Maybe I'm being too vague.

I'm a woman who never could have found true love if Jesus hadn't found me first.  I'm a writer who sometimes totally sucks at writing.  I'm a daughter who needs to call and write home more often.  I'm a wife who's both excited and petrified to be a mother someday.  I'm a lover who's sometimes loved the wrong things, only to have to fight for the ones promised me.  I'm a banker who isn't particularly good at math.  I'm a singer who sings most loudly when no one is listening.

I'm Rebecca Godlove, and I am very pleased to meet you.