No, Spoons Are NOT An Acceptable Substitution for "Introverting"
Community

No, Spoons Are NOT An Acceptable Substitution for "Introverting"

Spoons aren't about recharging while being alone.

90
Everypixel.com


Have you heard of the Spoons theory? If not, you can check out the full theory here, but it's easy to summarize: it's a story developed by Christine Miserandino to tangibly illustrate the limited energy that people with chronic illnesses (particularly invisible ones) experience.

The Spoon Theory assigns a unit of energy to each spoon, and then gives you a limited number of spoons for the day and asks you to think of all the things you need to do. Take a shower? Cook breakfast? Go to work? Each act takes away spoons, and you will often have more tasks that need doing than spoons to do them. Let's say after work, you have one spoon left. You can EITHER cook and eat dinner, OR do homework—but you can't do both.

Most people don't have to choose between brushing their teeth or taking a shower, because most people have lots of spoons and don't run that close to empty each day. But for chronically ill humans, they do have to make these choices constantly. Sometimes I have the energy to drive to a friend's, or to hang out—but I can't do both. And so I can't do either, because it does no good to drive there if I don't have the energy to hang out; and if I can't drive, I can't hang out with them anyway.

But lately I've heard a lot of people using Spoons as a way to describe introversion and extroversion. Introverts who say they don't have enough Spoons to go to that party, to meet for a long night out, or to organize a get-together; extroverts who extrovert themselves to pieces every night of the week and then say they don't have enough Spoons to be crazy-social on the weekends.

And this makes me angry.

The Spoon Theory does not refer to people who prefer to hole up with a good book rather than go out; who like one-on-one time with a good friend more than a wild night out; who find parties annoying or draining. That's called being an introvert. Spoons is not about people who recharge their energy by being alone.

Spoons very explicitly refers to people who have chronic illnesses and chronic pain. It's a way to explain to people who start with a full drawer of spoons, that sometimes there are days when we start with six. Sometimes there are days when we start with three--and there's no rhyme or reason to knowing how many spoons you'll get on any particular day.

Everyone needs to hermit sometimes. Everyone gets burnt out with people. (Some people's wicks are just a lot longer than others, hence extroverts and introverts.) But have you ever had to choose between either brushing your teeth, or taking a shower, because you literally couldn't do both? Have you often had to choose between going grocery shopping or making dinner? Do you, on a daily basis, have to ration your energy to make sure you can make it home by the end of the day?

It doesn't take that many spoons to brush your teeth. Most of the time people can do it without even thinking about it; without even noticing the tiny dent it makes in their energy levels. But for people with a chronic illness, the sorts of tiny expenses that most people can rack up in a day and not even think about, actually cost us a lot. If money was our analogy, then healthy people have a six-figure salary and rarely max out their credit cards, and chronically ill people are standing at the grocery store with $20 trying to choose between getting pain medication and living on rice and beans for the week, or buying veggies and fruit but no meds.

I've been living with multiple autoimmune diseases for almost ten years, all of them invisible. Many of my friends didn't even know how much pain I experienced on a regular basis, and many of them even now don't understand why sometimes I can make a thirty minute drive to a dance and stay all night, and sometimes I could either get dressed or drive, but I can't do either.

I made a list for one such friend of types of social engagements and their cost to me: social engagement with a friend costs 0-3 spoons to start, depending on the friend. I almost always have the energy to hang out at my house (1 spoon). I fairly frequently have the energy to meet near my house (2 spoons). I sometimes have the energy to make a twenty-minute drive (3 spoons). I rarely have the energy to make a forty-five minute drive (4 spoons).

So you can see that if I get off of work with 2 spoons, I would probably have the energy to hang out at my house, but I would not be able to drive to meet a friend.

The friends who get this equation and offer to come to me are friends that I'm able to plan on seeing with more regularity, because I usually can count on having at least a couple spoons after work. The friends who aren't able to do this—sometimes for similar reasons of their own—we just don't see each other as often, because I just don't know if I'll have five spoons to spare at the end of the day.

This is about chronic pain and illness making a significant impact on energy levels. So when healthy people use spoons as a way to describe introverting, it detracts from the impact of the Spoon Theory. This is not about me being "peopled out"—this is about my body and soul being so exhausted from chronic pain, illness, and discomfort that I sometimes have to choose between eating dinner or taking a shower. Everyone gets peopled out at times. But not everyone experiences illness and pain as a constant in their everyday life.

The Spoon Theory is an accessible way those of us with chronic illnesses can tangibly explain the drain on our energy to healthy people. Please stop using Spoons to describe your very human desire to have a night-in, and let it stand as it was meant: to illustrate invisible struggles to people who don't have them.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Health and Wellness

This Survey Shows How Quarantine And Drinking Relate, And I Can't Say I'm Surprised

"5 o'clock somewhere" is more of a guideline now than ever.

As it stands, and my friends and I are finally 21. We're extremely excited to be able to go out to bars and "get lit" as the kids say, but due to the pandemic, all of our plans have been put on hold. We'd rather wait and go when it's safe than risk spreading the infection and hurting our loved ones. So, we've all been quarantining apart, getting on the occasional wine zoom call. This made me wonder if anyone else our age were doing the same thing.

Then, I discovered this survey: We Surveyed Millennials And Gen Z About Their Quarantine Drinking Habits — Cheers. Here are 3 things that I discovered through the survey results.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

5 Easy Summer Mocktail Recipes You Can Make With Items You Probably Already Have On-Hand

Keep these drinks in mind next time you're visiting your local farmer's market — you might want to grab some extra mint and limes.

With Summer 2020 in full swing comes the addition of many fresh fruits and vegetables to brighten up your dinner plate, but also your glass! Farmers markets are my personal favorite place to look for produce that is in season to make fun mocktails with.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

5 Ways To Celebrate The 4th of July — Without Fireworks Or Social Gatherings

We created a list of things to do since social distancing may create a dent in our typical, planned traditions.

With the Fourth of July on Saturday, the usual tradition of popping fireworks, grilling out, and being surrounded by family has been modified due to the pandemic. Whether you're a loner or surrounded by family, there will most likely be some changes to your celebrations.

For weeks on social media, people across the country have been complaining that they have been subjected to fireworks going off at all times of the night into the early morning. This has sparked concern and questions about why this is happening and how are people even obtaining the fireworks.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

Carb And Cheese Lovers, Unite — These Are The Best Mac And Cheese Recipes On The Internet

Whether you need to get through the current pandemic or want to spice up your Fourth of July celebrations, these mac and cheese recipes will do just that.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BxIKdnMHcGr/

My favorite food is mac and cheese, and it always has been. All it requires is noodles and cheese — it's so simple to make. Although it's my favorite, it can also get kind of mundane because it's such a simple recipe. This, of course, has led to many people all over the world experimenting with the American staple.

With our lives currently being turned upside down due to the pandemic, a lot of people are seeking comfort. These are scary times, and in order to make it day-to-day, we need to have our favorite foods as a standby. These recipes can also be used during your celebration of the Fourth of July.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

17 Things To Make You Feel GOOD This Week

Because some purchases are just necessary.

Y'all, we're struggling. You don't even have to tell me, I know. What a mess we're all in, right? This year is not going how we planned and the world has turned into one giant struggle bus. I guess you could be super philosophical about everything happening for a reason, but sometimes life is just hard.

There are plenty of ways to bring yourself out of whatever rut you're in. You could go for a run, have a snack, or read a book. Or, if you're really looking for an adrenaline rush, go shopping. This is obviously not going to solve the world's problems with one swift click of the "checkout" button, but hey, it may just give you the little boost you need today.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Wore A Butt Mask Every Day For A Month, And It's Officially Essential In My Daily Self-Love Routine Now

Thirty days later, my booty's as smooth as a baby's.

- Blissfully unaware that butt-care beyond squats was even something I should be considering in my self-care routine, I tried one of Bawdy Beauty's butt masks for the first time a month ago.

- I've never really given my butt a second though till I took a look at improvements that could be made with the mask — if one of the hydrating, firming, detoxifying, or brightening masks in the kit I received could either smooth out cellulite or tone my skin a bit more, I wasn't going to complain.

- Each Bawdy Beauty sheet mask comes in an individually-packaged sheet, soaked with a serum I massaged into my skin after removing said sheet. The clay butt mask comes in a convenient stick format I simply draw on to my skin and leave to set for about 10 minutes before hopping into the shower.

- I set a goal of committing myself to butt-care every day for one month. Between the regular use of sheet masks, clay masks, and their CBD Butt Balm in between, I didn't have many expectations.

- I thought the whole concept may just be a gimmick, but my butt has never looked so toned in my life, and the cellulite I had is almost completely gone. I wear one every single day when I get the chance.

I'm incredibly skeptical when it comes to marketing ploys and gimmicks in the beauty world. I'll be the first cynic to try out the latest serum on the market every influencer is raving about just to negate every grandiose claim it makes.

Keep Reading... Show less

Friends, you don't have to be quarantined to use a personal massager, you know? Because, sure, quarantine made for a lot of extra quality time with yourself, but no matter what phase of the reopening process you're in, it's normal and actually healthy to take care of your sexual needs on your own.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

5 Books I Didn't Realize Are About Gay Women

If you read primarily LGBTQ fiction, then this list might help to expand your TBR list.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

Frequent readers of LGBTQ fiction might feel like they're reading the same book over and over again, with few exceptions.

Most of these books were on my TBR list for months and I didn't realize they were about gay women until I was reading them, hopefully, this list of books can interest you in expanding your reading material and seeking out different stories.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments