The other day I was talking to a fellow “spoonie” and used the term “SPOONIEPRENEUR” .  I’ve been using “spoonie artist” in many of my Instagram hashtags for a while now.  He’d never heard the term and neither had I – spooniepreneur that is.  I don’t know if I created a new term or if it has been floating around in the world wide web.  But I thought I would share how it relates to me – and maybe even you. 

Spoon Theory

   To under stand “spooniepreneur” one must understand what a “spoonie” is.  And to understand what a “spoonie” is, one must understand spoon theory.  So here’s a quick run down of what the spoon theory is.

       It is an analogy created by Christine Miserandino in 2003 in her essay “spoon theory”.  In this essay, she describes a conversation she had with a friend of hers about what having lupus felt like.  They were enjoying a lunch out together and the first thing she saw, were spoons.  She used these (now metaphorical) spoons as an energy measurement, giving each daily activity a number of spoons it took to complete.  As an example, if I have 10 spoons of energy to give throughout the course of a day, I have to manage the activities I do to ration out my energy.  A shower might take 1 spoon.  Eating another spoon.  Driving to and from a doctors appointment might take 3 spoons – if I’m driving at night, make that 5.  With this in mind, it’s easy to see how easily a person living with chronic illness and/or disability can get fatigued. Spoons can be replaced or replenished by resting, a good night of sleep, proper medication and treatment, etc.  You can read a more in depth explanation of spoon theory by reading Christine’s essay.

      This incredibly simple analogy made it possible for her able bodied friend to understand just how precious Christine’s energy and time truly was.  The chronic illness and disabled community took hold of this analogy because FINALLY there was a way to explain what it kind of felt like to be us.  It’s not a one size fits all analogy and each person has a different number of spoons to spend, and each spoon represents different levels of activity.  We’re all different.  But it’s a start. This is also where the term “spoonie” was derived.  A “spoonie” is someone who identifies with the spoon theory either as a result of chronic illness or disability.


      Now that you know what spoon theory is, and what the term “spoonie” stands for…NOW I can explain “spooniepreneur”.  If you like word games, you may have deduced that “spooniepreneur” is a mish-mash of the words “spoonie” and “entrepreneur”…and you’d be right.  MY definition of “spooniepreneur” is an entrepreneur (someone who runs their own business) that also faces the daily challenges of chronic illness/disease/disability.  It is a word to empower those of us living with these challenges.  Just as “Vetpreneur” is a term coined by Andrew O’Brian, to indicate a military Veteran who has transitioned to become an Entrepreneur.

     I like my new word because it’s fun to say. And less of a mouthful when compared to “differently-abled entrepreneur/artist”.  I refuse to see myself as disabled – just differently-abled.  Hmmm…I wonder what kind of word I can come up with to describe a spoonie entrepreneur artist…..  spoonieARTrepreneur ??  OOH I LIKE THAT!

     Shawna is a ceramic sculptor and mixed media artist who loves sharing her passion with others. She is a teaching artist and a strong advocate for the arts being accessible to all. To support her endeavors, consider subscribing to her members-only group! There are a variety of subscription levels starting at just $5/mo