inspirational rock

It sits on the window sill above my kitchen sink. When I see it, I smile or laugh depending on how much I focus on it. It even can inspire in me a momentary sense of well-being, peace, happiness, or joy, this smooth river rock with its carved letters that mean so much to me.

But it doesn’t say “peace,” “love”, “happiness,” or even “joy.”

It says “Quityerbellyachin”.

When my 10-year-old daughter and I first saw it in a basket of other stones that said “dream” or “dance” at our local nursery, Tangletown Gardens, it took us a couple seconds, as it probably did you, to figure out what it read.  Then we guffawed, we chortled and we repeated it over and over again as I held the heavy, smooth stone in my hands.

“There are a few people in my house who need to see this,” I told the guy at the cash register. We both smiled at it.

“Quityerbellyachin!,” I said to my daughter, probably another 10 times as we walked home with it, and each time we laughed and laughed.

So why would such a silly exhortation be above my kitchen sink? Why not “love” or “dance”?

I thought about that hard this morning and what came up surprised me.

Until my oldest child was about six, I suffered from what was probably initially post-partum depression that morphed undiagnosed into a constant, low-grade depression.  It manifested itself in a horrible anxiety, a fear for my children’s well-being that verged on pathological; and anger, a whole lot of it.

Other than that overriding fierce and irrational anxiety during their early years, I felt…almost nothing.  I loved them, for sure, but the love was so misted over in that horrible fog that trying to tap it was almost too much effort. Anger was my constant friend, something I could rely on to make me feel something…anything.

Joy? Happiness? Ha. Those were almost abstract concepts to me. I was the black hole of joy, the “un” in “unhappy”. I don’t want to overstate it and make it sound like I lay dramatically in bed all day with suicidal thoughts running through my brain, because I didn’t.  I endured. I coped. I kept on keepin’ on.  If you didn’t know, you didn’t know, because even I didn’t know I was depressed. My house was cleaner then than it is now, despite toddlers wreaking their hourly havoc.

I went to therapy. “I’m going to give you tools you can use when you get angry,” the therapist said to me, her assumption that I was just a normal mother of young children making me angrier. I didn’t feel normal, but I didn’t know why. And the wonderful “tools” she gave me sat on the metaphysical shelf. I could see them, but I couldn’t reach them.  My emotional arms were too short, too weak.

I’m better now. I have been for years since I’ve gotten the help I really needed. I feel everything, much to the amusement of my family as I tear up during movies or a particularly touching dog food commercial.

So why was I so drawn to that “Quityerbellyachin” rock? Why not the more beautiful sentiments of joy and happiness and love?  Because when I see those beautiful “feeling” words carved into heavy gray stone, I feel nothing.  I know more intimately than I’d like that you can’t command those emotions to come, no matter how hard you wish them, cajole them or wheedle them into existence.

“Quityerbellyachin” made me laugh. It made my daughter laugh. And every time I look at it now I realize that I bought it for me.  I am the one who needs to see it, to be reminded that I have absolutely nothing to complain about, that my life is good and full of all those things that at one time were like so many stones weighing me down.

And joy of joys, I can feel them all.


17 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. burbs09
    May 03, 2010 @ 18:44:31

    Glad you’re on the other side of it, Molly. We’re 2,000 miles away so I’m no expert, but your challenges never came through in your writing or voice. That item on the windowsill sounds like a great inspiration.
    Rock on!


  2. Lynne
    May 03, 2010 @ 20:25:10

    I’m a friend of Mary’s and as a new blogger myself, I wanted to check out your blog. What kind of writing do you do?

    Love your story about your rock.

    For me, blogging gives me the push I need to practice writing, the kind of writing the others see.


    • mollykelash
      May 03, 2010 @ 21:47:55

      I am a freelance marketing communications writer and editor, a former journalist who then worked in public relations, internal communications and advertising by turn. I feel like I can “put on” any voice needed by the client, but for once, I wanted it to be my own.

      It feels really good…scary, but good. What’s your blog’s address?


  3. Sue
    May 03, 2010 @ 21:46:08

    Hi Molly,

    I like your blog. Your writing has personality and a point of view. I always admire writing that begins somewhere, takes us somewhere else, then ends up somewhere near where we began but with a satisfying insight. Thanks, Molly. I hope you keep on keepin’ on—and keep on bloggin’.


  4. Debra Fisher Goldstein
    May 04, 2010 @ 01:33:36

    And if you feel like hurling that rock through a window some day, that’s okay too. It will give me permission to do the same!
    A rock-star blog is born. Bravo!


  5. Pamela Grover
    May 04, 2010 @ 03:18:27

    I’ve really enjoyed your posts, too, Molly. I admire how your voice comes out in your writing. Keep on sharing!


  6. Julie
    May 04, 2010 @ 13:32:44

    Love it Molly, keep it up. I look forward to more.


  7. tammie
    May 06, 2010 @ 03:00:23

    Thank you for including my on your first blog posting! Your story had a familar ring to it. I love the fact, that you have a”quityerbellyaching” rock looking back at you from the kitchen window. It’s better at putting things in perspective than a “joy” rock. I look forward to reading your upcoming posts.


  8. Amy Norton
    May 06, 2010 @ 13:59:42

    Molls, so excited you’ve started your blog. Your voice is clear and I love that you are touching on subjects we are all wrestling with at this stage of the game. Thanks for being brave and being willing to share your insight – it’s not easy to put it all out there for the world to see. Look forward to reading more. Keep up the good work! XO Amy


    • mollykelash
      May 08, 2010 @ 21:21:56

      Thanks, Ames. I hope I’m able to keep it going in a way that holds people’s interest and doesn’t become so self-involved that it verges on narcissistic. At this point, it’s been a really good way for me to think clearly about what I value and what I need to be grateful for.


  9. Lars
    May 09, 2010 @ 20:02:01

    I think complaining demeans the worries of others. I complained once about the inadequate space my home has in front of a co-worker who lived in a smaller house with larger children. Another time my friend complained to me, how her part-time job has left her overwhelmed, unorganized, unable to face the daily life as a mother and an avid tennis player. Her home was cleaner than mine, bigger, she has a maid, and a great paying job. Whatever! There is no sympathy there. And another thing,I can’t stand to hear an heiress complain about being on a budget! Hoy! It should be outlawed!See I’m complaining!


    • mollykelash
      May 09, 2010 @ 22:21:54

      Yup. I think at a certain point, probably pretty recently, I decided not to be a victim anymore and to see that my life compared to MILLIONS of others is freakin’ amazing! I’m glad you see what I see…let’s just tell those heiresses and wealthy mothers — “quityerballyachin'”. I actually thought of you when I was writing this and how you used to say, “suck it up!” — maybe they should make a rock like that! 🙂


  10. Marcia Jedd
    May 10, 2010 @ 15:04:54

    Ain’t the quityerbellyachin a funny reminder of what we need to accept in our lives.
    You’ve got a refreshing voice here. I’ve enjoyed your ed. columns in Basilica too.


  11. Elizabeth H. Cottrell
    Mar 29, 2011 @ 12:40:08

    This makes me miss my mother-in-law. She was 37 when her son (and only child) was born, and when I came on the scene, I was just the daughter she never had. Thankfully, she knew her grandchildren and they remember her fondly.

    BTW, I just “found” you through the RMWC Alumnae group on LinkedIn.


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