Some people were born with a silver spoon in their mouth. Most who weren’t at least have as many as their heart desires at their disposal. Then there’s those of us with a limited number of spoons, who keep reaching into that box of plastic cutlery and grabbing a damned fork instead. Ten thousand spoons? Have all the knives you want, Morissette! If you’d do worse things for even a fraction of those ten thousand spoons as some would for a Klondike bar, chances are you’re a spoonie.
What’s a spoonie?* The Spoon Theory was developed by Christine Miseradino when her friend asked her what it was like, living with Lupus. Not the cold, clinical definition outlining the physical struggle, but what having Lupus felt like. What it was like to be sick. Christine then gathered a dozen spoons, shoving them into her friends hands, who presumed she was making light of a difficult subject, per usual.
“She counted out 12 spoons. She laughed and said she wanted more. I said no, and I knew right away that this little game would work, when she looked disappointed, and we hadn’t even started yet. I’ve wanted more ‘spoons’ for years and haven’t found a way yet to get more, why should she?”
Every task from getting through the workday down to dragging yourself out of bed costs a certain number of spoons. The link above leads to the full essay, in which Christine explains how her friend described getting ready for work in the morning as her first task, to which the author had to point out all she’d forgotten about. “‘No! You don’t just get up. You have to crack open your eyes, and then realize you are late. You didn’t sleep well the night before. You have to crawl out of bed, and then you have to make your self something to eat before you can do anything else, because if you don’t, you can’t take your medicine, and if you don’t take your medicine you might as well give up all your spoons for today and tomorrow too.’ I quickly took away a spoon and she realized she hasn’t even gotten dressed yet.”
To date this is the best way I have found of explaining something that is simply impossible to understand unless you live with it on a daily basis. If you know someone with chronic illness, be it physical, mental, emotional, what have you, I really urge you to sit down and try this with them. Even if you don’t think you know a Spoonie, chances are you do.
Unfortunately, when you wake up to find you used up all the day’s spoons to make it through your first two days of work (that’s right, gainfully employed again for the first time since August 2015!) your day off becomes much less something to look forward to, and more a game of rationing out what little energy you have, prioritizing all the things you hoped to do against what needs to be done. I knew I needed to write a blog post today, though upon going to bed last night, I still didn’t have the slightest idea what to write about. Then I woke up to an unsolicited friend request on Facebook from someone I had all of 4 mutual friends with.** Our conversation went a little bit like this:
Me: “Do I know you?
Him: “I don’t recall meeting but I we have some friends in common”
Me: “Alright, well I’m not a friend collector and people-ing is exhausting. Unless there was reason beyond that, I generally don’t do unsolicited FR…”
Him: “Ok no it was just because I found you interesting and wanted to add you no worries”
Okay, so the fact that pretty much all of my information/posts privacy is set to friends only, that’s not a very valid argument. Secondly, if the abhorrent grammar and lack of originality/depth is any indication, this is not someone that is going to be worth my time to talk to. Maybe that comes off as really judgmental and rude. But when you only have so many spoons in a day, you have to learn to be resourceful with them. Sometimes that means not giving a fork…
“I explained that the difference in being sick and being healthy is having to make choices or to consciously think about things when the rest of the world doesn’t have to. The healthy have the luxury of a life without choices, a gift most people take for granted.”
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*Autocorrect keeps trying to change spoonie into “spoon”. I think we all know what a spoon is, thanks.
**Which, to be fair, makes up about 5% of my total Facebook friends. Clearly not a friend collector…