#MeToo: Breaking Through Being Silenced


TW: Sexual assault

I thought long and hard about writing this post. I'm still debating whether it's even a good idea. A part of me feels like I need to do this, I need to tell my story and then finally I will be able to move on. At the same time however, I don't think I'll ever be able to.

I'm sure you are all aware of the #MeToo movement that's been happening for the past few weeks. I am so incredibly moved by all the women, and men, who have come out and told their story. Whether something happened years ago, or a few days ago, the bravery of those people is immense and has, in a way, pushed me to do this. I've also become a person I don't recognise, and although I fight this everyday, although I try to work through this everyday, I have pushed a few people away from me because of that. Two of whom I cared for and loved very much, but because of my actions and this change in me, I have now lost forever. And quite frankly, I am done letting this define me, because the past 10 months of my life have been hell enough.

Prior to this year, I remember hearing stories of assault and being very sure of what I would do if I was ever in that position. Never did I imagine that I actually would be, and that the image I had of myself of a strong, hard-headed woman would crumble down. At the beginning of this year, I was raped. And it was done by someone I knew. Someone I would then have to see five days a week for five, six months. I think this is partially why I didn't know how to deal with this, because I couldn't get out of the situation I was in. This has also played a big part in me moving out of Norwich and dropping out of UEA, as I couldn't stand to sleep in the same bedroom and walk through the same streets every day.I needed a change.

I'm about 90% sure this happened at the end of February, but my timeline from February and March has been very blurred and I can't pin point it exactly. I really wish I could. It was a night of a work do. A few friends came over to mine, we pre'ed, we got ready, we headed out to the bar. The guy in question was already there. He bought me a few drinks, but I didn't think much of it, as I was sure we were doing rounds and I bought drinks for him, too. He kept touching me but I kept brushing him off. As a group, after a few hours we decided we were bored and wanted to change venue. We were having a chat outside, I can't remember what about, and one of my other friends jokingly kissed me, we laughed. However, straight after that he grabbed me, and kissed me, too. I was in too much of a shock to say anything so I just stood there with a confused face and decided he's just drunk.

For some reason or another, we couldn't find a bar we liked, so we decided to all head back to mine to chill out, drink some more and watch a film. A few people started doing drugs. Once we got to mine, I was offered some, and thought 'hey, what's the worst that can happen? I'm at my own house'. One thing I learned that night is that my body doesn't like drugs, as I almost immediately threw them all up. I then decided I was too tired, and wanted to go to bed, leaving my guests downstairs so they could crash. Or so I thought. I got upstairs and realised he had followed me. Still though, I wasn't thinking anything of it, as there wasn't much space downstairs, so I thought he could just sleep on my floor. But he got in my bed. And yet still, I thought he was just drunk and wanted to sleep comfortably. I was wrong. I said 'no'. I said 'stop'. I said 'I don't want to'. I don't know how long it lasted, but I did eventually manage to push him off. And then he fell asleep, whilst I lay there unable to move.

The next morning, one of the guys made a joke about us sleeping together, once the other guy left. I said that it wasn't like that and that I wasn't happy with the situation. I didn't really expand on it. But I kept thinking about it.


Did I really say 'no'? Did I really ask him to stop? Did I imagine the whole thing? Did I lead him on? Was this all my fault? Maybe he just didn't hear me.

I left it at that, but the joke was brought up again a few days later within a small group of work friends. I wanted to talk about it, because I didn't want people thinking we had slept together. I again said that it wasn't what I wanted, and I told them that I kept rethinking the night. At that point, the only other girl in the conversation turned around and said to me "You shouldn't be talking about this. He's a good guy and you could ruin his reputation". And if there's one thing that one girl can say to another to shut her up, it's just that.

So I did stop talking about it, until a few weeks ago. I met someone at uni, and somehow one of our conversations had ended up on this topic. I started to open up a little bit, and she helped me realise that I should've never let anyone silence me. If she's reading this, and I'm sure quite sure she is, I would just like to thank her. Because the last month and a half has been a little easier.

Another friend whom I told said to me "I'm sorry this has happened to you" and I replied saying that it's okay. But it's clearly not okay? It's not something that should ever, ever be okay. I still haven't reported it. I still haven't spoken to him about it. I don't know if I ever will. I know I should, because I worry it might happen again. But there's still parts of me that blame myself. I can't believe that I'm victim blaming myself, but I am. And I sometimes justify his actions. Or try to excuse them. And I think about what happened every single day, without fail. There are days when I'm embarrassed that I let this happen to me. I feel wrong in my own body, like it doesn't belong to me.

I think what I'm currently feeling the most though, is anger. I'm angry at what has happened to me, I'm angry about how it changed me and I'm angry about how it has made me behave. I have lost all trust for people, especially men. Because I have kept it in, my anger has been projected on the men closest to me, and that isn't fair, but it is the only way I've been able to cope with it for the past few months. Although I never want this to be an excuse for anything, I never want it to define me, either.  I sometimes feel like I need to defend myself, and explain myself, because who I've been for the last 10 months isn't who I am as a person, and somebody else's violation of my body and trust shouldn't be the person that others see me as now.

Although I've said that I have awful days still, I'm also learning how to get better and how to move on. Maybe it'll take a few more months, or a few more years, or maybe this will be with me for the rest of my life. I don't know the answer to that. What I do know though, is that no one, man or woman, should ever have to go through anything like this, and I will do whatever I can to help others get through this, because no one should be silenced.


Winter Skincare Favourites*


Hello my loves! Long time no post (although, in my case, pretty good going...). I thought I'd write a little bit about my current skincare routine. It's not perfect, and I am looking to change a few things, purely because I think my skin has gotten used to some of these products. They're nonetheless.

I'll kick it off with the classic favourites. Liz Earl Cleanse and Polish and Pixi Glow Tonic. I've been using Cleanse and Polish for about two years now, and I do genuinely think it's played a major role in clearing up my skin. I usually use it twice, first to take off my make up and then to cleanse my skin. I follow that with the Glow Tonic, and I'm convinced this stuff is magic. Every time my skin feels dry, or bumpy or I'm breaking out, this just works. Every single time. I know everybody recommends these products, but I honestly believe they're worth the hype. When my skin needs exfoliation (which lately is quite often), I've been reaching for the Formula 10.0.6 One Smooth Operator. I'm never quite sure what I need to look out for in a scrub, but I feel like this does it's job. 


Once I've done the above three steps, I go in with the SBC Collagen Hydra-Gel*. It's a rich and intensive water-based serum, which helps to re-hydrate, plump the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines. I know I'm only 23, but this is the time to start slowing down the signs of ageing! Also, collagen is just really good for your skin. I then reach for Hylamide Subq Eyes. I've always found that my eyes were my problem area. I've got very dark circles, and my skin is always puffy and very dehydrated around them.  And again, eyes show the first signs of ageing. I haven't been using it for that long, but I did a little research and found Caroline Hirons' post about this, so decided to give it a go. So far, so good. 

As my skin has been soooo dry and flakey recently, I've been treating it to an overnight Sudocrem* mask. Even as a mask, a little goes a long way. I've only been using this on my face for about two, three weeks now, but I can already notice the difference. I normally use it on spots anyway, and sometimes as a hand cream. I've also been using it as a primer, and I find it works great, too. Perhaps slightly better than my Smashbox one... I'd definitely recommend picking this up to try out if you haven't, and the Skin Care cream is only £1.99 at Boots, so I feel like you can't really go wrong here.


When I feel like being fancy, I use the Sinensis Agave Gold Refining Toner*, instead of Pixi Glow. This again is very high in collagen (a favourite of mine if you cant't tell) and it's rich in Vitamin C. I don't reach for this enough to have a detailed opinion on it, but it does make me feel very extra when I do use it, and if you're about that life too, I'd recommend checking it out. 

Applying SPF regularly is something I must admit I'm not that great at, but I've picked myself up the Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Sun Defence SPF 50 Sunscreen (what a mouthful eh). I got this in TK Maxx, so I didn't pay the full price for it. I know it's important to apply it, even when it doesn't seem that sunny outside, especially since I have very sensitive skin and I do burn very easily (I look more like a lobster roll rather than a bronze goddess) so I should definitely pay more attention to it. 

I thought I'd wrap this up by mention my two favourite masks. First one is the Sephora Pearl Sheet Mask. I'm pretty sure I've tried all of their sheet masks at this point, but I definitely think this is their best one, as it smells great and I do genuinely think my skin looks a little brighter after using it. Second are the Boots Tea Tree and Witch Hazel Nose Pore Strips (not technically a mask, I know). I personally think these work better than the Biore ones, I think it might be because it's a two step process, and my nose always feel extra smooth after Step 2.

In 2018, I want to get more into skincare, I've also mentioned that in my previous post. I've already started researching Korean 10 Step Regime, and I think I'll be jumping onto the bandwagon. Have you got any skincare tips, or products that you definitely recommend?


Things I want to do in my 20's


You may or may not know, but a few days ago (26/11) marked my 23rd birthday. As always, it was a time of reflection for me, hence the undertone of this post, and the next one. Around my birthday I try to look back at the past year, what it is that I have and haven't achieved and what I'm looking to gain from the next few years. I thought this year I'd create myself a bucket list, of sort, not just for the next year, but for the rest of my twenties.

  1. Travel to as many countries as humanly (financially) possible - a few of the places on my list are Thailand, New Zealand, Canada and Mexico.
  2.  Become fluent in Spanish - I studied it at AS Level but never continued it, which I now regret. I really enjoyed the language, so don't know why I gave up on it. But I'm planning on picking it up again in the New Year. 
  3. Get my dream job - I know what I want, and although it has taken me a while to figure it out, I'm finally on the right track and I have high ambitions when it comes to it, and I plan to be as high up as I possibly can before I turn 30.
  4. Feed my body right - I'm all about body positivism and being happy in your body, but lately I haven't been practising what I preach. I think that's mainly because of how I've been eating. I'm not feeding my body well, and although I do believe in allowing yourself to indulge, I don't think my body has the same opinion. So I definitely need to transform what I put into it if I want to stay healthy. I also might be allergic to dairy, which would be an absolute disaster for me, but it would probably help me eat better.
  5. Look after my skin more - this links to the previous point, but how I eat also has an impact on my skin. I'm also not the best person when it comes to a skincare regime, and I fear I'd be Caroline Hirons' biggest nightmare.
  6. Live abroad - this goes back to point number one, but I'd absolutely looooove to live abroad for a few months. I think it'd also help with my anxiety, as I wouldn't have any other choice but to deal with the fact that I am indeed alone in a strange country.
  7. Get rid of toxic friendships - I will touch on this more in my next post, but there's nothing you can gain from hanging around from people who make you feel like crap. Also, sometimes we are the toxic friend, so letting go of that will help you become a better person, too.
  8. Take my parents on holiday - I'd love to take my parents on an amazing trip, and make sure they don't have to pay for any expenses. I have an idea where I'd want to take them, but I need to save up for it and make it happen!
  9. Learn how to save - speaking off... Saving is definitely in the top 5 things I can't do, and really struggle with. I need to learn how to do it, pay off my overdraft and finally open up a Savings Account that I won't use for *emergencies*. Perhaps save 20% of my paycheck? We'll see.
  10. Give back more - I've always been really involved with charity work, and it's something I want to do more and hopefully on a larger scale. Charities I help right now are Centrepoint, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home & Mind
  11. Own a home - in this economy, and as a millenial living in London, this probably won't be easy, but it's also one of the most important things on this list for me. 
  12. Stop looking for love - fairly self explanatory. After having my heart broken by someone I really loved, I think I'm finally done searching for validation that love would give me. If it comes my way, great. If it doesn't, also great, because I'll just adopt lots of dogs.
  13. Learn how to not take things personally - I'm a worrier, so naturally any criticism or slight difference in someone's behavioour makes me me think it's me, my fault and that I've done something wrong. Turns out that that's very rarely the case, so I should just stop, really.

Anxiety, University & Why I Left

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Hellooooooo beautiful humans who are reading this blog! Hope you're having a great day. I've been coming and going from this blog from the moment I started it, but I finally feel ready and like I'm in a good enough place to make it exactly what I want. I've scheduled blog posts all the way up to Christmas Eve (yeah I know, who is am I?!) and I've got a lot of exciting things I want to discuss and share with you lovely people. I thought it was only right to finally discuss what's been going on in my life, why I'm no longer in Norwich and what I'm up to now.

I've discussed my anxiety issues on this blog before, but I've never made it clear just how severe they were/are, so this essentially is what this post it about. I've suffered from anxiety since I was 7, maybe 8 years old. However, growing up in Poland, anxiety wasn't a thing. No one really knew what was going on, and we just assumed I'm a walking ball of stress (which I am) and that there's nothing that can be done. Fast forward 10 years later, my anxiety started to creep back in, in a form of panic attacks. At the time, I was working full time at TOPSHOP and had a tyrant of a floor manager. No one listened to us when we complained about him, and told us it was all in our heads. Sadly, it wasn't, and that's when the panic attacks began. They happened before I left the house, on the tube, back of the house in store. Only reason I put up with it was because I was moving away to uni and I needed a job, and staying on meant I'd be transferred to the Norwich store. I also just didn't understand what was happening to me, as in the past the only thing that would happen to me when I was anxious was a tight chest and I'd usually be sick so when I had my first panic attack, I didn't even realise what it was.

As I've mentioned already, I thought moving away to university would fix the problem. Oh how wrong was I. November 2014 is when my problems started to get more severe. I wouldn't say it's down to being away from home, because things aren't different when I am here. I started feeling really low, I didn't want to attend my classes, locked myself in my room and only came out to hang out with my friends. I either didn't eat for a week, or ate a whole week's worth of food in one day (but we'll discuss my relationship with food another time). This is partially due to a 'relationship' with a guy. It was the first time I fell for someone, and the dickhead (there's no other word for him, sorry) decided to mess with me for a good six, seven months. We were also in the same sports club, and sadly I lost friends over this - but if someone can see another person continually hurting you and still chooses them, were they ever really a friend? I don't think so.

Another reason for my unhappiness was my course. Before going to uni I took a gap year, but I had a deferred entry for American Literature. I thought it was the perfect course for me, as back then I lived with this idea of being a Young Adult publisher. The course wasn't what I expected, I was constantly bored, I didn't feel I was learning anything and I basically stopped attending my classes. I started seeing a doctor and was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. Depression scared me. My dad's mum suffered from it severely, and I know what it can do to a person. I tried counselling for a bit, but there were two problems with it. Waiting for a counsellor at UEA is probably one of the longest and most dragged out processes I've ever seen, and you only get about four sessions (although this was in 2014/2015, so this perhaps may have changed now). Secondly, if you don't click with your councillor, you have to get back in line. My one just didn't make me feel comfortable, and I felt constantly interrogated.

One thing that I did know, was that I liked the Norwich environment, I liked UEA and my friends there. I decided to change my course to Culture, Literature & Politics. I was enjoying it, but at the same time, my medication changed. There was a period of time where I didn't leave my room for two weeks, I didn't want to see anyone or do anything and I fell really behind on my work. Around that time I also had a very unpleasant incident whilst walking home from my shift at the uni bar. I wasn't physically hurt, but I was left emotionally scarred, and even walking home late now makes me feel extremely unsafe and uncomfortable. All of this put together didn't have a great effect on me, and I struggled to get out of it for a very long time. After talking to one of my roommates at the time, I got myself to the doctor and she immediately changed my medication. I was very lucky that I had an understanding doctor who wanted the best for me, and who always genuinely listened to my concerns and took them on board. Even if I was coming in for a different reason, she always made sure to ask about my mental health and it was very reassuring to know she cared.

Although my medication started to eventually work, I was still left in a horrible place. Because I missed so much of uni, I had a lot of catching up to do. I didn't feel comfortable attending classes, because no one really knew me, and it made my anxiety even worse. I was forcing myself to do all the work, and it wasn't great. Fast forward a few months to around April/May, I finally got a mentor,whom I've been waiting for since November. She told me that she found my papers by accident, in a pile of things in the main office. Great organisation, UEA. She was great though. Helped me get back on top of my work (kind of) and helped me with my exam preparation for June, and thanks to her I also managed to bag myself a PR internship for the summer. However, when it came to the day of the exam, I had a panic attack on my way there. I haven't taken exams in years, and the idea of it terrified me. I got myself to the doctor, we filed a report, and I was told I could sit the exam again in two months. I loved my internship, but it because of what happened with my exam, my anxiety was at an all time high, every single day. And sadly, it didn't get better.

On the day when I was supposed to sit my exam, I was put in the wrong room. About forty-five minutes into it, a lady came up to me and told me I had to move. I questioned it, since I was writing the correct paper, but she insisted. I was put in a room with two other people. One girl kept cracking her knuckles and talking to herself quite loudly (we all deal with stress differently, I know) and one guy who wasn't actually supposed to be there. A discussion broke out, and it caused yet another panic attack. I was taken from the room, and dropped off outside of the Medical Centre to fend for myself. Which, in case you were wondering, isn't the correct procedure. The rest is all a bit of a roller coaster. A few days  before the term was supposed to start, I got a letter telling me I need to intercalate as I didn't take my exam (they were supposed to give me a provisional pass, considering their mistake). Long story short, turns out they lost the documents my doctor and I have sent off. We argued and appealed, but they refused to admit their fault, so I was left with taking a year off. As you can imagine, that also did wonders for my mental health, especially since I couldn't get out of my contract. Living in a house with four other girls, all attending university and having fun in their final year. To put it bluntly, it fucking sucked.

 I managed to find myself a Christmas temp job, but until then, I wasn't really doing  much. After that, I started another job, at a place I used to work at,but the hours weren't great, so my relationship with my housemates became non-existent and we drifted apart. When it came to the exam period again, I had to do all my work all over, including the exam - which also turned out to now be a piece of coursework, something I was supposed to know from the start. If you have severe anxiety and can't take exams, your tutors can give you a piece of coursework to hand in instead. This is something I found out way after this whole debacle even began, which made the situation that much worse. I was trying to complete all my work, all whilst working full time, trying to socialise and keep a long distance friendship 'thing' going on. I wasn't the best person to be around, and I'll be the first to admit that. Anxiety, and depression, severely took over who I was and looking back it breaks my heart that who I became pushed so many people away. As I was doing all that, I realised I didn't want to be attending a university that treated me that way, paying money for a course that I'm not that invested in and be forced to stay in a place that's making so miserable, so I decided to drop out. It wasn't an easy decision, but I decided to for once put my mental well-being first.


 I moved back home in July, and decided that I want to try getting to a London university, and I knew I wanted to study Public Relations. So I guess something good did come out of my time in Norwich, as it helped me realise that PR is what I want to go into. I got an unconditional offer from UAL, and I'm currently studying for my BA here. It's extremely stressful, involves a lot of group work (amazing...) but I absolutely love it. It may have taken me a long time to find my path, way longer than a lot of people, but I'm finally on the right track. All of this could still go up in smoke if SFE doesn't come through, as they have to decide if they'll be funding me still. It's a complicated and long process, but I have faith that all will be fine soon.

I guess what I wanted this post to do, is to help me close the UEA/Norwich chapter, but also help anyone who's unhappy at university for any reason.

 It's always important to put your well-being first, and although it took me a long time to figure that out, I'll never forget that now. 
If you have any questions regarding dropping out, mental health or just need someone to talk to, I want you to know that it's okay - and that I am here for you. Until next time,