I’ve always had a bit of trouble with identity. What defines me and how do I describe myself? I don’t want to describe myself as “an Accountant” because that gives people a set of preconceptions I don’t feel I belong to. Same with “a Mum”, I have given birth to children whom I love and look after but that is something I do, not something I am. “A gamer”? I play some games but only some, I pick them up and put them down. Same with knitting and crochet. Same with my Bullet Journal, much though I wish I was more consistent with that!
On a deeper level, I’m a cis female but that doesn’t cover my “male” side, the part of me which wants to be the one to change the light fittings, drill the holes in the wall, grab a beer and play video games, plus I’m rubbish with makeup and often forget to pull a brush through my hair. As for sexual preferences, “not straight” is the closest I’ve got to being able to define that.
So, that’s a nice long list of what I’m not. I’m also not a Jenny, I haven’t been a Jenny since I was around 13. I tried to get people to call me Jennifer but the people who already knew me stuck with Jenny and the new people just followed on. At 16 I changed schools and took advantage of the opportunity to rebrand as Jennie but that still didn’t fit. Next time I moved on, two years later, I thought new town, new start. With a whole new set of people, I started again as Jen.
So this is me. I am Jen. I am a Jen. I Jen*, it’s what I do. It’s how I define myself. I’m sure a Jen by any other name would smell as sweet but I wouldn’t feel as comfortable in my own skin, I wouldn’t feel as authentic***.
I feel more defined by my name than I do by my profession; my family; my hobbies or my style (or lack thereof). I feel an irrational connection to other Jens, most of the blogs I follow are written by people called Jen. This isn’t intentional – I’ll do a bit of searching and start following a few blogs; a little while later, I’ll stop following some of the ones which didn’t pull me in and most of the ones I have left are by people called Jen. Cake Wrecks and Epbot; I Heart Organising; The Bloggess. These are the people who inspire me and whom I admire.
So I’m a Jen. It seems a Jen is a wonderful thing to be. But, if you’re trying to get hold of me, there is no Jane in accounts. There’s no Jeanette either (we sacked her fictional arse just so we had someone to blame for all the little whoops moments we find). If you’re replying to an email from someone who signs their name Jen from an email address jennifer.p……, best not to start with “Dear Karen,”. And there is absolutely no Jenny! Although there is a Jay and she is lovely.
* I also create verbs out of people’s names**. To Jen is to carefully prepare everything for an email or letter then just forget to send it. Yes, I Jen. A lot. You should see my Drafts folder!
** To Daniel (eldest son) is to throw food down oneself while eating; to Phillip (youngest son) is to need the bathroom the moment someone asks you to do something; to Rob (fiancé) is already a verb, but not an apt one.
*** I do have an alter-ego called Jessica. She’s more of a people person though and has hair like Merida from Brave.