In a few disability blogs and Twitter “tweets” now, I’ve seen references to spoons: using or spending spoons, not having enough spoons to do something, and how many spoons a given a given activity uses. I just assumed it was some of disability theory with which I was unfamiliar, and I kept forgetting to look it up. Yesterday I remembered, and my research led me to Christine Miserandino’s Spoon Theory.
Image Description: 5 spoons (red, yellow, green, blue, grey) lined up in a row.
The Basics of Spoon Theory
Miserandino developed Spoon Theory as a way to explain to her best friend how it felt to have lupus. The premise is that people start the day with spoons, and as they perform their tasks of daily living, spoons get taken away.
A person without disabilities or illness may start each day with an unlimited number of spoons, because their bodies are healthy and there’s nothing to stop them (save the usual limits of what the human body can do and the circumstances imposed on them by others) from them getting done what they want to in a day.
A person with disabilities or illness, because of the physical challenges she faces, may only get ten spoons to get everything done in a day. Depending on her disability, six of them could be gone just getting ready to get out the door to a doctor’s appointment. She may be able to borrow against some spoons for the next day, to be sure that she finishes the appointment, but then she might really need to rest the next day.
It’s an interesting way of looking at things. I really urge you to read Miserandino’s essay in full.
Looking at Spoon Theory – Where Do You Spend Your Spoons?
Looking back over the course of my recovery, I can definitely see the moments where I’ve had fewer spoons to spend than the average person. I think that right now I try to live like I have unlimited spoons, and I’m slowly becoming unconvinced of the wisdom of that.
My left leg and arm are much more mobile than they used to be, granted, but they’re still heavier to move than my right leg. I should probably be getting more rest than I do.
I’m choosing to spend most of my spoons on trying to write and get my business launched, and on social interaction (which I don’t get a lot of and know I need more of). And I work pretty hard. And I’m pretty hard on myself when other things fall by the wayside as all of this happens.
There’s other stuff, but it’s boring and doesn’t need to be shared.
My point is, maybe my spoons still just aren’t unlimited…as much as I’d like them to be.
I’ll have to think about this some more.