“That was a mistake” Matt muttered softly. The hot centre of the roast potato burned the roof of my mouth and I nodded. I’d been ambitious about the gifts of the undisputed Roast Potato King, and I immediately regretted it. Within moments, the roof of my mouth was swollen and ulcered. That’ll hurt tomorrow.
Prior to that, Matt found me face down on the bed. Not asleep, but certainly pretty close to. I’d blogged, I’d cleaned, I’d exercised the dog twice – I was done. and still yet with plenty more to do.
“Are you okay?” Matt asked, concerned.
“Mmhmm” I sighed, “just out of spoons.”
“Spoons?”. Oh bother, he doesn’t know what spoons are.
Of course, my husband does know what spoons are in the literal sense of the word, he just doesn’t know about metaphorical spoons.
“So spoons, basically,” I said, hauling myself up onto my elbows, “imagine that at the beginning of the day, you have ten spoons, and each thing you do uses up spoons. Say making breakfast uses up a spoon, exercising the dog uses up two spoons, working, blogging or doing some housework, that uses up three spoons each. I’ve done housework, blogging and exercised the dog twice today, so I have -“
“No spoons” Matt concluded, I nodded. No spoons.
The Spoon Theory is something that a lot of disabled people use to explain their energy levels, an idea first developed by Christine Miserandino , who lives with lupus. For myself, who also lives with hidden disabilities, spoons are incredibly useful to have. “Let me nap” I say, “and I might have a few more spoons for later”.
Later in the evening, I found myself contemplating my skincare routine. Compared to a lot of people these days, my facial skincare routine was frightening simple and consisted of three simple steps, with a weekly treat – facial scrub, water and moisturiser, with a hyaluronic acid face mask for a deep moisturise and a jade (although mine is rose quartz) as a weekly treat on top. I’d seen young people of today applying all kinds of drips of potions onto their face, and to be honest, I’d recoiled in horror. I didn’t have have time for that each night, and I’d be guaranteed to forget something!
Should I be doing… you know.. more?
If anything, what I found from my Google searches was that if anything, I should be doing less.
Water-only washing? It seems pointless, doesn’t it? That’s not even clean!
But the more I read, the more I discovered something else – The ‘No Poo’ trend.
If you’re thinking that this means a bout of chronic constipation, rest easy. No Poo does not mean forgoing bowel movements in the name of saving water, but rather, it means forgoing shampoo or conditioner on a daily basis. I’m normally a twice-a-week hair washer anyway so I’m sort of semi No Poo already, but how far could I go? Would forgoing shampoo completely fix my typically dry, itchy scalp, the dry, itchy scalp that seemingly, even Head & Shoulders can’t fix?
Well, for science, I’d be willing to give it a go.
Once I was on the No Poo idea, I wanted to see how far I could go. Could I go as far as no body wash, too? Wouldn’t I stink? Curiosity killed the cat, so they say.
So after dinner, it was time to try out this experiment.
In the shower, one of the first things that I found was that, instinctively, I checked to see where my shampoo and conditioner were. Realising that I’d realised where they were, I quickly made myself forget about them again. We won’t be using them today.
Washing my hair with only water was… bizarre, and it felt more akin to washing my hair on camp or rinsing it after those handful of times that I tried (and notoriously failed at) bodyboarding. It didn’t feel washed, it felt wetted, more like I’d had a water fight than a shower. I also found that a few times, I tried to rinse my eyes, because I’d got water in them and it was a habit to try and rinse shampoo out. Ahh, gotta love those learned behaviours.
But then as I finished up, something began to change.
After a water fight, I always felt a sense of liberation, and that same feeling began to sink in. I felt relaxed, happy, euphoric, more as though I’d just stepped out from under a waterfall than as though I’d just had my first half of a shower, you know, because in effect, I had. A waterfall, right here in my own home.
Instead of my usual Dove body wash, I opted for water-only exfoliation. I rinsed my body buff a few times under the water to get rid of any bits, and what happened surprised me.
Normally, I’m sure, the moisturising shower creme pampers this dead skin (sorry for that thought), keeping it moisturised and stuck to my skin. Instead, it got scrubbed right off. Instead of feeling bubbled and pampered, I felt naturally refreshed.
So with day one of this experiment over, let’s talk about the, so far, positives and negatives.
The one big positive for me was the time saved. There was no faffing with this bottle and that, or wringing out sponges and puffs to get rid of all of the bubbles, because there weren’t any. This was all just water and elbow grease, plain and simple.
On the negative front, I have definitely noticed a little bit of a stink from my hair. I don’t say that it’s major, but it is there. I’m wondering if I have a product build-up and could really do with washing it first, wih something else natural to combat the stink. I’m contemplating adding some tea tree oil in somewhere, perhaps on a regular basis, I love the clean, slightly medicinal smell of tea tree. Growing up with long hair, any time that notice went round, my mother would always perform a lice check and then rinse my hair with warm water containing tea tree oil, and I could easily get back into that again. Yes, love it!
As for me? You know what, I don’t stink, and moreover in myself, I’ve actually felt relaxed and clean all day. I’m not racing around and stressed out like usual, my respiration rate is slower and more relaxed, which is unusual for me. I feel like I’ve had a spa day for sure, but a spa day with minimal products or fuss. So far so good. I also found that I slept better, deeper, and I dreamed more vividly – Something about a robot that looked somewhere crossed between a small bathroom bin and a parrot, like a bin with wheels and a beak, and that liked to play fetch with a tennis ball. Don’t ask, though I do blame Hugo for the latter part.
Even if I do stink from time to time, I plan to create an all-natural body mist in the next few days, as soon as I can source some supplie. Growing up, I used to have a body mist from Boots that contained rose, cinnamon and sandalwood, a product that they tragically no longer sell. If I can, I’d love to try and recreate it, or something similar. Perhaps something a little lighter too, for daytime use.
As embarrassing as it is, when the whether warms up, I am genetically prone to athlete’s foot. Both my parents’ suffered from it, and my mother and I develop small, hard and extremely itchy liquid-filled lumps on the soles of our feet that are incredibly painful when they burst. I’ve tried all kinds of chemical treatments and swapped fabric slippers for rubber flip flops but again, to no avail. When I can, I plain to make up a foot scrub and soak using coconut oil, Epson salt and tea tree oil in a desperate bid to treat the condition. I will report back in two weeks on how that treatment is going.
For hygiene and environmental reasons, I’m also considering replacing toilet paper for water, a practice which, in earnest, I was inspired by having heard about the Lota with thanks to TikTok’s NinjaMommy, and a (very safe!) demonstration by The Saleh family. Of course, for the sakes of cultural appropriation, I would never actually purchase a Lota, but I have already searched around for alternatives. Menstruation also isn’t something that I need to worry about, and I love the mini-pill for many, many reasons, including this.
But for Matt, the idea of no-soap washing was stinky.
“Smell, do I stink?” I asked, offering up an arm this morning.
“No, you smell…”
“Human” I concluded, “exactly.” Not soapy, not floral, not fruity or fragrant in any way, just human. Watery, fresh human.
When I first started on the BDSM scene, I remember one of the first erotic story books that I had and cherished, The House Of Maldona, with the main antagonist, Jane, preparing herself for her boyfriend by washing without any fragrant soaps. At the time, the idea repulsed me too, and yet now, I can appreciate humanity in its natural form.
As I relaxed on our bed, I found that my confidence shot up. I didn’t smell cleaned, but I didn’t smell bad either. I did smell, but I smelled of freshness, of fresh water. I smelled of human, just the way that nature intended. A former naturist, this almost felt like the next step in my journey.
In and of my submission, then that, too, felt as though it had been shaped somehow. There was no puffs and perfumes, no make-ups, crash diets or celebrity workouts to be a better version of myself or in the vaguest hopes of being something closer to what he wanted me to be. I was giving myself to him, all of me, exactly as I am.