We thought it was unique, they said. We thought the name was beautiful, they said.
And, apparently, so did everyone else.
Growing up in Iowa, I was among 5 Jennifers in my elementary school class. There were 8 of us in the grade. Most of us were called "Jennifer," only one was a "Jenny." To distinguish us from each other, the teachers used our last initial when we were addressed. For most of my K - 12 experience, I was "Jennifer K."
When I reached 11th grade, I had enough. I wanted something different, something more. I rebelled against my name, not changing it, mind you, but I started telling people it was spelled with one "n," -- "Jenifer." Unique, right?
Everyone screwed it up. It didn't really catch on. It was a written change, but nothing else. I was still Jennifer, regardless of the ditching of a consonant.
When I graduated from high school, I spent many weeks thinking about how I could be something different in college. A different name. A different person. Escaping from the millions of other people that shared my name. I considered going by my middle name. I considered going by a shortened version of my middle name. I considered going by a single letter.
I hadn't really made up my mind about my new name identity when a new college friend introduced me to someone else as "Jen." And, my new life was born.