The worthy trinket


Marissa Lunt

The worry doll from beneath my pillow

Wrapped in various colors, a thin wire soaks in my worries, drawbacks, difficulties, and anything that blocks my world from positivity–my worry doll (called a muñeca quitapena in Spanish).  

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had this incredible, small doll in my coat pockets, traveling bags, and sleeping bags, but it lives under my pillow the majority of the time. A small fragment of my life has been spent hanging on to its Guatemalan culture–within a pinkies reach, but never letting go. 

Thinking back to when I officially started holding my worry doll in my hand, it managed to give me a sense of tranquility, almost as if my doubts floated away. 

Now, I have two of my own muñeca quitapenas. I got one from my mom not too long ago, and another was found in a box of trinkets that came home with me. They both have the same exact meaning to me, but they look different from one another. I can tell which one has been used more because it has its own indigo strand that tails behind it. I don’t ever want to cut it off because it’s a part of who I am, and I want to keep every piece of it with me. 

I feel as if names for worry dolls are unnecessary. They aren’t American Girl dolls branded with names; they carry much more meaning within them. I can hold them in my hand for however long, and even if they don’t actually take away what’s troubling me, they give me comfort. 

It seems foolish to put so much faith into something smaller than my index finger, but it’s worth every doubt. ”

I used to carry around a bear and pig stuffed animal when I was younger, but I would have never guessed that as a seventeen-year-old, I would be holding tightly to my own worry doll.

Everywhere I travel, with or without family, I always stuff it in some region of my backpack before stepping on a plane. When I went to Europe, I took many kinds of transportation, and if I didn’t feel safe, I knew my doll was guarding me beside my family. 

The thought of having something of importance that I can drag to every new place I visit never fails to make my life happier, even if it affects me in the slightest way. Every once in a while, I imagine what it would be like if my worry dolls were real—if they truly could take what’s weighing me down off my chest. 

If the whole world had one big muñeca quitapena, maybe I wouldn’t have to keep so many troubled thoughts in the hands of my colorful friends; maybe I wouldn’t have to think about the safety of my surroundings. The collection of worries is absorbed by the power of something tiny. 

Worry dolls not only enhance life in a positive way as for me, but they also do more; it helps release stress. Having the power to imagine my worries are being collected one by one, slowly disappearing to a new place, a place only my little helpers can take care of–my muñeca quitapenas.