I woke up yesterday with an odd thought, a phrase in my head. I think it might be a bit ridiculous because it was completely subconscious but here it is: spoon shaming.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Spoon Theory. It’s a concept, a terminology used by people who have chronic illness or disability to communicate their experience.
1. Here’s the original Spoon Theory piece, written by Christine Miserando.
2. Here’s a great piece by my friend Scuba Nurse about Spoon Theory being used in contexts other than illness and disability, and how that can be upsetting – Feminism 101 – the spoon theory.
3. Here’s what I wrote about it a few months ago – The Importance of Understanding.
While I was clearly very fragile and very deep in the experience when I wrote that piece, I still feel a lot of it. I still feel very strongly about Spoon Theory as a positive and practical way of communicating illness and/or disability, both within communities and to those who haven’t experienced it.
So this idea of “spoon shaming” – what I basically mean is associating a feeling of shame with my inability to do things because I have no spoons. I keep pretending to be a healthy person – going out when I shouldn’t, eating things I shouldn’t – because I can’t face that shame. It makes me feel inadequate, abnormal… less than human.
And 99% of the time, it’s not other people doing it. They’re not spoon shaming me. They’re not comparing their number of spoons to mine and finding me lacking. They’re not judging me, or feeling frustrated with me – I’m doing that to myself. 99% of the time, people are kind and gentle and if I just have the courage to tell them I’m not coping, to face the reality of my illness, they’ll support me in that.
My friend Coley gave me some lovely spoons last Christmas. Obviously, I only have a limited number of them. But they’re very pretty, aren’t they? And they mean a lot to me. So I’m going to try and on focus on how great they are,(and not chastise myself for the ones I don’t have) – because I have more than I had a few months ago, even if I’m a long way from a full dinner set – and I’m so very grateful for that.