I learned a few weeks ago that I had mononucleosis. Nothing alarming since 99% of the population gets it at some point, but the effects are annoying and seem to last forever. Even though I didn’t mention it to anyone, for a while the fatigue, the lack of interest in everything but sleep, and the mood swings, made me even think that I might be going through the first symptoms of depression. So in some way, the diagnosis came out as a relief. Since there is no medication to cure it or ease the symptoms, the doctor gave me a few tips to get some of my energy back: rest a lot, eat healthy food, go outside, enjoy the sun, etc. But isn’t it what I’m supposed to do all the time and not just to recover from mono?

Making a list of the good things to do in order to get better also helped me think about what is *not* good, and consider all the bad habits that I should give up on. You know, all those ordinary things that are so common that they condition your everyday routine. Little things that make you feel uncomfortable, oppressed or awkward. And based on that list, I established the “No-Days”.

“No-Days”, basically, are stay-at-home days free of unnecessary constraints that mostly involve socializing. They are not lazy days or “Me-Days” (which, by the way, are important too once in a while). “No-Days” are just days when I am exactly what I’m supposed to be, and look exactly how I’m supposed to look. In other words, “No-Days” mean:

No bra. Women know that taking off a bra after a long day is the best feeling ever! Did you know that tight bras can also lead to intercostal pain and reflux? Now you do. So unless you have big heavy boobs that require support at all time because of a fragile back, just set them free whenever you can.

No makeup. I’m not a big fan anyway, but because everyone keeps reminding me how tired I look, I often wear light makeup to go to work.  Considering it involves 10 extra minutes in the bathroom in the morning and 10 extra minutes in the evening to take it off with a remover wipe (which, to be honest, is not very environmentally-friendly), it is precious time that I can save during my “No-Days”. I don’t need makeup to do the shopping or to cook. I don’t need makeup to do the housework or the gardening. And technically, I don’t even need it when I don’t have to show how fabulous I look. A situation which, by the way, should only apply to wedding days, job interviews and the reenactment of the shopping scene in “Pretty Woman”.

No heels or uncomfortable shoes. Shoes are a touchy topic of discussion between me and my boyfriend, who thinks I should only use good casual shoes every day. The same boyfriend who wears the same pair of shoes Every. Fucking. Day. (No wait, he also has a pair of snow boots that he wears 5 times every 2 years). I, on the other hand, have about 30 pairs. Summer shoes, winter shoes, sneakers, boots, sandals… I know this is insane but I love shoes. I don’t even buy new ones that often, it’s just that I keep them for years. However, many of my shoes are only comfortable on the surface. I have hiking shoes for long walks, but since I spend most of my time sitting at work, I don’t really need my feet to be comfortable all the time. So occasionally, when I have to walk longer than usual, the day ends up with me having blisters. So during my “No-Days”, I choose socks and/or slippers only.

No shower. I admit that it doesn’t happen very often simply because I like showering and the “after-shower” feeling, but if staying at home doesn’t involve heavy physical activity, a basic sink wash is enough.

No shaving. Oh, another hot topic… Strangely, my boyfriend encourages me to go “wild” but it’s simply not an option as far as I’m concerned. I know I’ve been brainwashed by following our society’s standards, but being hairy makes me very self-conscious. However, when I don’t have to go to the outside world, I can deal with not having the most perfect legs or armpits for a few days.

No matching clothes/shoes. Yes, sometimes, at home, I look like a clown. My cats never complained about it.

I’m not a classy sophisticated dressed up person and I’ll never be. But even sticking to the minimum in terms of what is expected from an office worker already involves quite a lot of obligations. So most of the time, I wear a bra, a necklace, regular outfit, earrings and makeup. I smell nice and fresh, and I shave some visible and invisible parts of my body.

But is this really who I am? Does the way I look in public define me as a person in the private sphere? Is it why my boyfriend, my family and my friends love me? Of course not. So even though I will still regularly make efforts to follow the social rules during certain times of my everyday life, I also need these moments when I don’t have to care about other people and stick to the roots of how I really look without artifices. But because I’m also not confident at all about my body, I also need my boyfriend to put me at ease and remind me that getting rid of superfluous gimmicks is fine. And being himself the most natural person ever, he’s very good at it. 🙂

If he doesn’t mind the messy hairstyle, the non-matching clothes, the slippers, the dark rings under my eyes, the sagging breasts and 2 millimeters of hair on my legs all at once -and most importantly if *I* don’t mind it either- then there’s no reason why I shouldn’t simply enjoy being the real me.

Very often, I remember that scene from “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” when Will gets locked in a room with his new girlfriend. She looks all fancy but Will progressively realizes that she’s also all fake: she has hair extension, colored contact lenses, false nails, etc. By shutting off her natural side and spending so much time and energy to become what she’s not, she made herself uncomfortable and dependent on other people. And Will has this great line: “In the last 3 hours, you took out your eyeballs, your fingernails, your eyelids and your hair. Now what else on your body can I get at the mall?”.

So to sum things up: may my life, as well as yours, be filled with lots of “No-Days”, whatever we decide to take off.