Today, I am happy to report, I am no longer legally Jennifer Lynne Armintrout. I am Jenny Gallifrey Joel Trout.
If you’re new here, you might be unaware that my real name was Jennifer Lynne Armintrout. You may also be unaware that I used to be a bestselling author under that name. And then everything went to shit.
Like I said, I’ve gotten a lot better. Like, no longer suicidal better. However, a few years of returning to fast food work where I prayed my coworkers wouldn’t find out that I was a failed writer and trying to keep my kids from realizing how poor we were while getting near daily emails congratulating me on big contracts and movie deals that were not mine really soured me on the experience of being Jennifer Armintrout. And let’s just throw on there how much bullying I got as a kid for having that name. Even after things got so much better (and in case I don’t thank you guys enough for that, thank you) and I changed my professional name to Jenny Trout, it still kind of sucked having my past failure and years long mental breakdown hanging over my head every time I signed a check.
So, I changed it. And I threw in nods to some of the things that saved me. Like, The Doctor. As a fully obsessed Doctor Who fan, I strive to live my life every day like a person The Doctor would be proud of. Hence, I chose Gallifrey as the first of my two new middle names. Gallifrey is the planet the Time Lords hail from, so I thought, “Why not?”
“The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice versa, the bad things don’t always spoil the good things and make them unimportant.” – The Doctor
And Joel. You guys know where “Joel” comes from. While I’m convinced that at least 50% of you think I’m just joking about my religious worship of Billy Joel, I’m totally not. His music has saved me and shaped so much of the way I live my life now. He’s helped me through so many bad days. He’s changed the way I view my own life and mortality. Lessons I’ve learned from his music and his outlook on life have made me a better person, a more functioning person, and above all, a person who is content with myself and my life. I will probably never get a chance to thank him for that, and there’s no real way I could put the depth of my gratitude into words, at least, into not creepy words that wouldn’t result in a PPO. And maybe it’s creepy to give myself that middle name–no, wait, it’s definitely creepy. But total stranger or not, Mr. Joel is a very big part of my life, and since I’m trying to wash away some bad memories of the past by letting go of the person I used to be, I thought it was apt.
“But I survived all those long lonely days
When it seemed I did not have a friend
Cause all I needed was a little faith
So I could catch my breath and face the world again” – Billy Joel, “You’re Only Human (Second Wind)
So, here I am. Jenny Gallifrey Joel Trout. Living my life, getting my fresh start (well, adding to my already ongoing fresh start) and not being victimized by circumstances beyond my control anymore.