The Salty Spoonie

Last night a friend made an excellent post on Instagram about the labour involved in being a disabled or chronically ill person and having able-bodied people constantly dish out unsolicited advice, appearance policing or thinly veiled insults disguised as treatment tips. She encouraged us to “bring on the salt”, I suggested a tee that read “salty”, one thing led to another and I ended up with a RedBubble store full of salty disability designs. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Black t shirt with "salty" printed in white
Salty – white text on a classic t shirt

Salty, of course, is a word particular to dysautonomia patients, as we require tonnes (ok, grams) of salt to get through the day. But once I started reflecting on the more frustrating aspects of disability, I had more ideas: disabled, a nod to the infantilising trend of referring to disabled people as “differently abled”, “diff-abled”, anything but the actual word.

Tees and hoodies with salty disabled slogans.

Not your inspiration has leanings to Stella Young, who gave a TED Talk about how disabled people aren’t here to be your inspiration. And cure ableism is pretty simple: there are a lot of people out there who want to cure disability, but maybe the real problem is ableist attitudes which create and reinforce the disabling factors in our society.

If you’re not aware, RedBubble works by having independent designers upload their designs, which RedBubble then prints onto nearly everything you can think of. The defaults for my designs are what you’ll first see when you click through, but you have the option of choosing from a variety of tee and hoodie/pullover/jumper variations in a range of colours. (For example, I ordered a Salty – black text on a unisex tee in heather grey.) There’s spiral bound notebooks, too.

Notebooks with salty disabled slogans.

This venture isn’t really to make money (seriously, I earn like $4 a tee) but was a fun way to channel my frustration at societal concepts of disability in tee form. I thought other spoonies might get a kick out of it, too. You can find me at The Salty Spoonie on RedBubble.

Author: Siobhan S

20 something, living in country Australia. Spoonie profile: ME/CFS, dysautonomia, anxiety. All about sewing, knitting and food. Unapologetic feminist and disability advocate.

5 thoughts on “The Salty Spoonie”

  1. I LOVE this!

    Also, unsolicited “advice” from people who are well…I’ve dealt with my fair share of that! A lot of it lately comes from someone who should know better – my own father, a man who throws himself a pity party every time he so much as comes down with a cold or flu, but expects me to be forever positive, pull myself up by my boot straps and is completely dismissive of my feelings and my various issues/illnesses. He’s a weird one, that’s for sure.

    So the “cure ableism” shirt made me laugh the hardest. You rock, Siobhan!


    1. Thank you for your support! Sorry you’ve had to deal with those terrible comments. I’ve found the same thing – that people who make the biggest deal of their own, very minor, health problems, are the ones who are the most critical of the chronically ill. Perhaps there is a strong correlation between self-involvement and lack of empathy for others 😉


      1. I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with this kind of BS too!

        And also, I actually think you’re totally right about the link between self-involvement and lack of empathy for others – there are probably varying degrees of this displayed across humanity, but I’d say that people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder or Antisocial Personality Disorder/”sociopaths” are probably the most extreme examples of this. 😛

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this, and you’re so very right about those that “constantly dish out unsolicited advice, appearance policing or thinly veiled insults disguised”! Love the selection (and I’m kind of hoping I can apply this to me as although I don’t have dysautonomia I do have to drink more water and eat way more salt due to my stoma) – Bring on the salt! Great stuff 🙂
    Caz x


    1. Oh that’s interesting, I didn’t realise that there were other conditions that required a high intake of salt. Of course the tee applies to you – I feel like it even applies to salty able-bodied people too haha.


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