January 25, 2012

The Spoon Theory

When I started this blog I wished I could find a way to explain to people without hirsutism what it is like to live with hirsutism.  The things you deny yourself, the ways you have to plan ahead...

And a few days ago I was shown a link to this article about the "Spoon Theory," which the author came up with to explain to a friend what it was like to live with Lupus.  I haven't been about to stop thinking about it.  It's such a good way to illustrate what it's like to have a chronic challenge like that in your life.

Now, I would never compare hirsutism to Lupus.  Idiopathic hirsutism in particular, which really doesn't have any other symptoms (unlike the glucose imbalance, weight gain and difficulty conceiving that can also be part of the hairy parcel for women with PCOS), can hardly be described as a "sickness."  But it is a bodily malfunction of sorts that we can't control.  It is something that makes us budget our energy (and our shaving cream) because, let's face it, hirsutism can also prevent us from doing things.

This is a very good article.  This week, this is what I'd like people to read:  http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory-written-by-christine-miserandino/

I asked her to list off the tasks of her day, including the most simple. As, she rattled off daily chores, or just fun things to do; I explained how each one would cost her a spoon. When she jumped right into getting ready for work as her first task of the morning, I cut her off and took away a spoon. I practically jumped down her throat. I said ” 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.”

And I think more than anything it reminds us how lucky we are.  We have more control over our lives than many, hair or no hair.  May we be empowered to take charge and made the most of each day.


Saffron said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I have just spent the last few hours reading every single post on your blog.

I'm not one of those people who has grown to be comfortable with my hair, with my routine, with my secrets. But I do hope that I will be.

Reading your blog has made me laugh, and made me cry, but it's also made me feel normal.

Sometimes I find myself feeling so lost and hopeless. Then I feel lost and hopeless and stupid because I'm beating myself up over hair.

It can feel like such a silent thing to suffer through. Reading your blog made me feel better, not because I thought one day maybe I won't be hairy, but because I thought maybe one day I'll learn that it's okay and I don't have to hate myself. :)

Thank you so much.

Allerleirah said...

Hello Saffron, thank you for your comment! It always excites me to hear from a woman who is going through what I'm going through and has found this blog helpful! We do tend to suffer alone in this, but we don't have to. It amazes me to see how common this struggle really is--we're kind of alone, but alone together. :)

Just keep taking it one day at a time. You won't notice it, but eventually you'll look back and realize you feel much better about it than you used to!

Much love!

Anonymous said...

I love your reply to Saffron - so true - it is a COMMON struggle. Common. And re: looking back. Before we met, I thought I was the only person in the universe and beyond who can understand my hairy concerns. Now, four years on, I am aware that there are plenty of us and the real Problem is not the hair but the fact we do not know how to deal with "it". Four years ago I would not call an ambulance in emergency in case a doctor would see me naked. Now, I say "I've got laser booked on Monday" in passing. The world has not changed. My perspective did. But it took me a long time to understand that it really is all it takes.... s.

Allerleirah said...

the real Problem is not the hair but the fact we do not know how to deal with "it".

THIS. Absolutely. :D