Reinventing yourself

One of my favorite people and best friends was born today. In honor of her birthday, I'd like to tell a story about her. However, since I haven't asked her permission to do this, we'll just make up a name for her. Let's call her Lola.

My friend Lola is awesome. Sometimes I wish I could write stories about her, because everyone should experience her in some way or other. I've tried, but she can't be captured. She's hilarious, but that kind of hilarious where it isn't what she says that's funny, but the delivery; you can never really bottle it and share it with other people to explain how fantastic she is.

In spite of Lola being a total blast, she is unbelievably unlucky in love. I don't know if she was born under the wrong sign or what, but her love life is and has always been a complete disaster. One time, she moved across the country with this guy who, shortly after their arrival, just left her there. I can't imagine that, left in a strange place, knowing no one.

It's happened to her two or three times.

Lola's a fighter though, and she always comes back swinging.

She got married at 18, and they split up four months after the wedding. They stayed married for years though, while living utterly separate lives, convinced they were soul mates and would eventually end up together. No matter how crazy it sounded, we all knew they would too.

She was devastated when he died in a tragic accident. We all were.

Lola always swore she'd never marry again. She wears a huge butterfly ring on her wedding finger to ward marriage off. I bought her the first version of that ring, though it eventually disintegrated and has been replaced several times by new butterflies.

Then she met this guy. He was fantastic. She said, "You know how I always say I'd never get married again?  Well, I think maybe I could. Maybe with this guy. Maybe." She was hesitant; he was persistent. They dated for years, and he finally proposed. We were all staggered when she said yes. The butterfly was replaced by a diamond. Their wedding was gorgeous.

A few months later, he left one night and never came back. Turned out he was a bipolar alcoholic who went off his meds and onto a bender. After three weeks with no word, she changed the locks. When she heard from him next, he was crazy and threatening. He refused meds, refused counseling, and refused to come home. After several months, she filed for a divorce. The hearing was conducted in his absence.

Included with the paperwork, she added a petition to change her name.

The judge said, "I see here you'd like to change your name back to your maiden name."
Lola said, "Umm... Not exactly, Your Honor."
The judge asked her to clarify.

Lola said, "Your Honor, I don't want my current husband's last name because we're not married anymore. But my maiden name, the last name I had prior to this, was my late husband's name; I don't want it back. That name has too many sad memories for me. The name I was born with was my father's name, and I don't want anything to do with him either. I just want a fresh start, Your Honor. With a new name that's just my own."

The judge granted her request.

I love you, Lola. A million, million. You think you just roll with the punches, but really you're a badass.

Happy birthday.


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