Spoons: The Fallacy of “If I Can Do It, Then You Can Do It”

Posted: November 26, 2014 in Disability
Tags: , , , , ,

Let’s just start straight off with what got me annoyed at this mentality this time around. Someone posted online that they were upset they wouldn’t get to workout that day because they were working a 12 hour shift. And I get that frustration. I hate when I really want to workout, but other things get in the way- thankfully I’m not doing 12-16 hour days between work and school anymore. Still there are times when I have a paper I need to work on and I just can’t afford to take time away from that to work out. It happens. It’s life.

Except the responses to this person saying that were all “I work 12 hour shifts and still work out everyday! No excuses!”

I don’t know the person who said this, I don’t know their life or abilities, but it pisses me off when people assume that all people have the same capabilities for all things.

Which lad to me looking up again this article on spoon theory. I love this article so much.

Its hard, the hardest thing I ever had to learn is to slow down, and not do everything. I fight this to this day.

I know this feeling so well. I still have to battle my own denial, where I want to think I can do all the things and just ignore my limitations, but I can’t. I literally can’t.

And as described there, the same s true for me- there are good days and there are bad days. I think pretty much everyone with a chronic illness has that. Some days I really can’t even function at all. And some days I actually feel pretty normal.

But I still get frustrated that I can’t just do things like healthy people. Things have to be different for me, and nothing is ever as predictable.

I’ve gotten a lot better at working out regularly since I’m not working currently, instead focusing on school. It means I have more spoons that aren’t being used for work that I can allocate some toward work outs instead.

I am just really sick though of this mentality that all people have the same capabilities at all times. Even if you take two people with the same illness they are not going to have the exact same experiences with and problems from. Heck, remember that good days and bad days part? That means you can take the same person and they will not have the same experience and problems with an illness on different days.

And this is the kind of crap that pisses me off about the “no excuses” line that is always thrown around on fitness sites.

And as if dealing with chronic illnesses doesn’t make me feel different and shitty enough, I can’t even express frustration about them keeping me from a workout without someone who doesn’t have to deal with these issues coming along to tell me how they still get in their workout no matter what, so I have no excuse for not ether.

Which btw, my illnesses aren’t excuses, they are just shitty facts of life for me that I have to deal with. 

  1. Great article, thanks for sharing! Also, totally with you on “no excuses” – I think people think it’s motivational when actually it’s completely judgmental.

    • ebay313 says:

      Thanks 🙂
      I think some people do find it motivating, I know I’ve seen people say it to/about themselves as how they motivate themselves to do a workout. But I think there is a difference between telling yourself something to motivate yourself and saying it to other people who you don’t know (which applies also when it’s said to a general anybody reading audience). I mean, I can tell myself “just suck it up and do it” if I’m tired but capable of sucking it up and doing it because I know myself and my ability there. Some stranger on the internet does not have the necessary information about myself or anyone else to know if “suck it up and do it” is an option (or even if it’s motivating to hear for that person even if t is.)

  2. lozette says:

    Great article (y)

  3. Jehovah Sanctus Unus says:

    Although this is especially true of people deal with illness and disability, I think this argument applies to the broader population as well. Different people have different priorities and capabilities. Although physical activity is important, it’s both ignorant and presumptuous for internet assholes to suggest that people MUST make time to workout. My brother, for instance, is currently in medical school and is absolutely flooded with school work. Although he’d definitely like to spend more time in the gym, the opportunity cost of working out is time that could be spent studying for an exam or preparing for a lecture. It’s a simple matter of priorities for him.

    Great article by the way.

    • ebay313 says:

      Absolutely! I actually wrote awhile back on the issue of priorities. I hear people say a lot that it’s a matter of priorities to mean that you need to make working out a priority, but I just think “yeah, it is about priorities” and working out is not the top of my priorities, school is (I’m working on my PhD). Working out is important for making progress, for my health, and for stress management and so I balance it with school best I can, but when one has to take priority over the other, school gets priority.

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