I’m a riser.
I’m a get up off the ground, don’t run and hide-er.
When pushin’ comes to shovin’, hey I’m a fighter.
When darkness comes to town, I’m a lighter.
A get out alive-er
I’m a fighter.
I’m a riser.
~ from Dierks Bentley’s “Riser”
Sometimes I wish that maternal names were passed down as readily as paternal names. It’s not that I want to change my name or that I am not proud to have my father’s surname, but in my family, women seem to have stronger personalities than the men. There is no doubt that my great-grandma, Nanny, runs things like the Godfather in a girdle.
As far back as I have heard stories, the women in my family were daring, and it would be nice to be able to say that’s from the _______ side, but the women all had two last names. The courage and wit that made them who they were was present before they got married, but to think of them using maiden names seems disrespectful to their eventual marriages and the women they became.
I’ve decided to use the maiden name of the farthest-back woman I know, my great-great-great-grandma, Mary Jonasson to say with pride that while I’m no less my father’s daughter, I’m also a Jonasson.
I just forget that sometimes. It’s been hard to remember that I’m a Jonasson lately. I’m weary and worn down by circumstances, and there have been more rough days than might be fair lately. So I forgot that I’m tougher than people think, that I’m smarter than my circumstances, and that I have a pretty strong history of succeeding in spite of being dealt a crappy hand sometimes. I’ve let myself feel defeated by insecure bullies because they seem to have found all my own insecurities to their great delight.
As of tonight, I’m done with being defeated. I’m not perfect. There are a LOT of insecurities and uncertainties hanging over my head. I’d wager that Mary Jonasson had them too, as she boarded a ship in Sweden and set off for America, which happened to be in the middle of a civil war, at the age of 18, all alone. But her fears are not why I admire her so. It’s her determination to succeed anyways. The same determination that got passed down through generations of women until it got to me.
There will be more challenging days ahead, but by God, I’m a Jonasson. And that gives me a good head start on those tough days.