Friday, September 30, 2016

#FineFellasFriday: A Love Letter to My #BlackBrothas, Lolos Hears You

This entry is dedicated to a man who knows my pain like its his own: Apollo 
Apollo and on a Good Girl Chronicles photo shoot
#FineFellasFriday: An Love Letter to My Strong, Fine,
 Black Brothas
I want you to know, I hear you

Dear #blackbrotha,

I hear you boo. You feel you have to be so tough in this world. You see men just like you shot in the street sometimes at the hands of brothas like you, sometimes at the hands of people wearing a badge. You are shouting, you are pleading, “Don’t shoot.” But, you feel no one is listening. You turn on the television and see another black man down. Boo, I am sorry. I don’t know how to comfort you. 

If I could shoulder your pain, absorb it, and endure it so you didn’t have to I would. That’s what a good girl does. We comfort you, we love you, we sharpen you like Proverbs, and prepare you to head out to a hard, cold world. I want to be your Ruth.



Stereotypes say you are aggressive, resisting arrest, you are a danger to those in the line of duty. They say this even when your hands are up, even when they don’t find a weapon, even when you die for no cause. My heart aches for you boo. I want to hold you, press your head against my heart, and tell you love you back through the heartache of injustice like Brandi did for Tre in ‘Boyz in the Hood’. I want to be the Janet in your Poetic Justice, the calm in your storm.




I am perplexed at the current state of things. We are Americans. Our ancestors were Queens and Kings. Our royal lines were torn apart on the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Yet our people endured, rebelled like Nat Turner, survived the ugliness of slavery, escaped like Sojourner Truth, and fought back like Malcom X. Our bloodline is full of warriors, conquerors, Martin Luther Kings, Rosa Parks, and Barack Obamas. They fought, they marched, and they told our story. It’s not an easy one to tell, but it the story of ours. We are conquerors, we are survivors, we Davids admist Goliaths. In 2016 we are seeing too many of our black men dying, on the way home from the corner store, selling cigarettes or being mistaken for a suspect. All too often the deaths are at the hands of an officer. I know you are angry. I am too. I’m a strong, educated, black woman and I can’t wrap my arms around this. But, 
I want to wrap my arms around you.


I hear you black brotha I do. You are crying out for someone to hear you, see you, let you live under the American flag that says we’re all created equal. The red, white, and blue is for you too honey. It contains the freedoms our ancestors fought for: the right to vote, protest, a right to have a say in this melting pot we call America. I can’t love away the pain, the hurt, disappointment, or anger. 

I can only say this, “I hear you. Keep crying out black brotha. Keep marching. Keep protesting until they hear you too. Stand tall, be brave until they open their eyes and see you bleed red just like them too. You are a father, a brother, a businessman, an uncle, a brother with a dream, you are human. Your voice, your march, your resistance to the status quo has power. I hear you black brotha. I do! You don’t need to lift your hands to fight. Fight with your words. You don’t need to bear arms to avenge. The mightiest warriors slay when they shine a light on injustice without inflicting more pain. Let’s make the world see the brokenness you are feeling. I believe in telling your story, we all can be set free from these tragedies of police shootings, black deaths, and human loss.  This isn’t just civil rights, it’s human rights.


And, know this black brotha we sistas are dying too. Sandra Bland taught us, we have a battle too. We are mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmothers, jilted lovers in formation; we are broken, and hurt just like you. We have pain too. I hear you black brotha. I can’t make the hurt disappear, but I hope in this letter you see…. I hear you…. I feel you… I understand you. I love you.

Remember this black brothas, God gave Moses a voice when he stuttered. He helped David slay a giant with a slingshot. He brought back everything the enemy took from Job, and God sent His only begotten son to a broken woman at well in the book of John, and showed her grace. That woman is me. I love you, but God loves you more. Keep using your voice. Ask God to guide and lead you in these difficult times.  Hold your head up high in these difficult times, and remember even when the world doesn’t see you…. God does. I do. You are more than a conqueror. By faith you are mighty. You are an overcomer.

John 15:18 says, “If the world hates you, remember they first hated me.” Even our Savior was tested, betrayed, hurt, lied about, and hated. Let that bring you the strength to exhale, let go of the anger, and keep using your voice to effect real change. I hear you. I see you, and YOUR LIFE MATTERS.



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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

#WomenWhoSlayWednesday: When A Good Girl Gives Up: Part 3 'The Psych Ward'

#WomenWhoSlayWednesday: When A Good 

Girl Gives Up Part 2



This is a continuation of the #WomenWhoSlayWednesday entry, “When A Good Girl Gives Up” WARNING: This is my story of my first suicide attempt.

What follows is the tale of my voluntary commitment to Virginia Beach Psychiatric Center

I remember being taken to Virginia Beach Psychiatric Center in the back of an ambulance called Eagle Transport with two white emergency medical techinicans. I wasn't put on a stretcher or strapped in like I once feared. Instead, I hoisted myself into the ambulance and buckled up. 

It was a bumpy ride down Interstate 64. I remember looking out the window and seeing dusk turn to dawn. In the back of the ambulance one of the male emergency medical technicians took my information: name, address, insurance. It was all very informal. When we reached Virginia Beach Psych, I wobbled out of the transport ambulance and vomited in the bushes. 

"It just started doing that," the transporter guy said pointing to me hurling clear liquid. That statement was humiliating, and degrading. I wasn't even a person anymore I was an "it". 

The Eagle Tranport guys escorted me to the intake office (where you are processed for treatment) and left. Even though I voluntarily checked myself in, I was scared. I worried people would recognize me as Lauren Compton, the chick from the news. I was scared the numbness I felt would never get better. I wanted to run right out of that place and disappear. But, I couldn't.


My last headshot as a television reporter
The intake officer took my jewelry, cellphone, shoe strings, and iPod. I couldn't have anything sharp or electronic. I understood why I couldn't have my shoe strings. I could use them to strangle myself. I didn't understand why I couldn't have my iPod, a little device that was a coping mechanism for me when I felt anxious or sad.
Me, my last year reporting in Hampton Roads, Va

As the intake officer put  my information in his computer, I quickly sent an email to my station Assistant News Director. It stated I was in the hospital and didn't know when I'd be released. Then, the
intake officer, a white man with a shaggy beard and dark circles under his eyes, lead me to what I now know is the Emotional Recovery Unit. It was around 5:00 a.m. When the sleep deprived intake guy opened the door to the unit, I was struck by a smell. It was a mixture of old moth balls and cleaning solution. I looked down the long hall, and I saw women pacing.

The unit consisted of a long hallway with a nursing station at the center, rooms, and offices. I also noticed a lobby, game room, and
medication counter. Images of the movie 'Girl Interrupted' filled my head. If you haven't seen it here is a brief synopsis.  Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie star in this very real tale of two women institutionalized in a mental hospital for troubled women during the 1960's. (Angelina won an Oscar and Golden Globe for her provocative role in the movie.) The movie is based on the real life story of Susanna Kaysen and her 18 months stay in a mental hospital. It came out in 1999. I remember watching it and feeling so connected to Winona's depiction of Susanna. Susanna had tried to overdose on pill and throughout the movie is in a struggle to find herself. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety at 16, and often felt lost myself in an ocean of sadness. I hid my mental illness for years even into my television career.  In the future, I'll tell you more about how this movie imitates my life. 


As I stood in the hallway, I felt like I was outside of  my body looking at a broken form of myself. I wanted to escape again, but some part of me believed that Virginia Beach psych was the way out of my darkness.

A white woman with blonde hair approached me and the intake officer disappeared.

"I'll be taking your vital signs. Do you mind rolling up your shelves?" she asked. I obliged. 

She told me her name was Sara just like my little sister, and I felt some comfort in that. Sara quickly gave me the rundown of the Emotional Recovery Unit. Breakfast at 8:00 a.m., lunch at noon, dinner at 5:00 p.m. Lights out by 11:00 p.m. I'd have the chance to meet with a social worker, psychiatrist, and plenty of opportunities to share in group therapy. 

None of what she said really mattered to me at the moment. I wanted so desperately to run to my assigned room, cry, and sleep.

The first day at the psych ward was a blur. I had to give blood, meet with doctors, and attend group therapy. I do remember this though. I decided not to have my family come in for counseling. ( A decision in hindsight I'm glad I made) Being admitted to Virginia Beach Psychiatric Center is not a vacation. It is therapy. It is work. It is intense. It is hard. Somewhere in my heart I knew neither my father or mother would understand the pain that lead me to my suicide attempt. As a kid, they always told me to suck it, don't cry, hide your depression. So even when I had the chance to bring them with the appointed social worker in the psych center or the klink as I like to call I refused. 

"Trust me they won't get it," I said to the black social worker. I am only noting her race because I feel it's relevant. The church, church people, and the black community taught me at a young age that mental illness was not something we just didn't talked about, let alone accept. It's with this history I refused to have my parents involved in my treatment. 
Me, a year before my first suicide attempt
I remember feeling really happy that day

Two years later and I realize I was so right about that moment. My parents would never understand, or even try. But, that's OK. This is my life, my mental illness, and I will overcome.... 

Look at me NOW - stronger, braver, better
#Overcomerofdepression


TO BE CONTINUED................

Monday, September 26, 2016

#EmotionalMakeupMonday: How A Little Rouge Brought A Lot of Healing

#EmotionalMakeUpMonday :How A Little Rouge Brought A Lot of Healing

I had planned to write about how to pick the best concealer, but my dear friend Caleb prompted me to write about something deeper.

Get a good girl shirt at www.booster.com/good-girl-chronicles 
 I’m a makeup blogger in training so sometimes I end up buying products that are all wrong for me. Such was the case with the Laura Gellar medium coverage concealer. The product was fine, but the shade was all wrong. I tried it out for a week and each time it wasn’t doing the trick so I decided to see my amazing friend and makeup artist Caleb AKA @indiecency at Sephora. I figured I’d grill him on concealer types, brands, and shades. It would have been a good #makeupmonday, but you can find that anywhere online. What I have for you today is how makeup restored a piece of me this year. 

I was diagnosed with severe depression at the age of 16 and I've struggled with it ever since. Depression distorts your perception. It makes you think you are fat, unlovable, unworthy, and ugly. My last depressive episode sucked the life out of me. For two years I was drowning in my own pain, and I hurt myself in an attempt to feel something. I picked scabs off my face until they turned red, pulled my hair out, ate until my stomach hurt, and let my 150 frame grow to 230 pounds in a matter of months. I purposely started avoiding mirrors so I didn’t have to see the grotesque woman I had become. One night without warning, I looked up in the mirror, and I wept. Who was this woman? Her hair was undone; she had black circles under my eyes, a scarred face, and a broken heart. How did I let it get this bad? Where was Lauren? She wasn’t in that mirror. Depression, defeat, and heartache looked back at me, and I broke down in tears. That was in the winter of 2015. I’ve blogged frequently about how God intervened , and in 2016 I started to get back up from the depression that almost killed me.

When I was ready to start going back into society, I knew I had to do something about my face. It still bore the scars of my depression. I had three dark wounds on my right cheek, dark circles under my eyes from insomnia, and untamed brows. A friend took me to Ulta and introduced to this amazing concealer by Benefit Cosmetics called ‘Erase Paste’. After that like learning to walk again, I reintroduced myself to the power of makeup.

 As a television reporter I learned a lot over the years on how to cover up a hangover, a restless night, or acne. We also had makeup consultants come in and tell us what colors looked good for us. As a blogger I learned about makeup from YouTube videos.  But, what really rebuilt my confidence this year was finding two amazing makeup artists who taught me makeup enhances beauty, it doesn’t replace it. Meeting @indiecency (Caleb at Sephora) and @facebyjayvee (Jasmine at Ulta) was divine intervention. The two of them restored me in ways they may never know.
Me and the amazing Jamine at Ulta
Girl you are a light.
Talented, motivating, you are everything
#ironsharpensiron



As I was coming out of my depression, I’d spent hours in Ulta and Sephora. I wanted to play with the products, rub elbows with the beautiful people, and learn how to cover my depression scars. Over time the time spent paid off and I started to learn incredible things about makeup: brands, techniques, sales, and deals. It was heaven. But more than all of that @indeciency and @facebyjayvee helped me get my groove back. I can’t tell you how much both of them have called me beautiful, sexy, fierce, and strong. After a while I started to believe it.



I carried myself differently, held my head up higher, and over time started to find the confidence mental illness robbed me of. I adore you Caleb and Jasmine. You are part of my restoration.


 Case in point, yesterday I went into Sephora to find a new concealer, and Caleb asked me if I was OK. I broke down in tears. I was sad, depressed, and I felt alone. In typical Caleb fashion he made me laugh. I dried my tears, and Caleb helped me find the perfect Bare Minerals under eye concealer. Once I got my emotions in check I told Caleb I was sad my family abandoned me, heartbroken that I let men use me, and angry that I had gotten off course. With no judgement he comforted me, listened to me, and loved me in the way I needed at that moment. I left the Sephora looking amazing, but more important feeling loved. That is the real power of friendship and makeup. I adore you.

Caleb and I at Sephora.
He helped me find the perfect Bare Minerals concealer and did my eyeshadow here.
I adore you

I’d love to hear you stories of how makeup or friendship has restored you. Email them to teamgoodgirl84@gmail.com






Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Bravery of Telling Your Own Story : Good Girl Chronicles Mission Prt2

The Bravery of Telling Your Own Story: Good Girl Chronicles Mission Prt 2

What I’m about to say is hard to explain to someone who is not of faith. When I was young, I heard a still voice speak to me. It wasn’t like a human voice. It was a voice I felt on the inside of me.

 I remember the day very vividly. I was around 6 or 7, and sitting in front of this vanity mirror my mother got me. Me, my little brother, sister, mother and father were living on base housing in Jacksonville, Florida. On this particular day the sun was out, and I remember looking out the window to see white fluffy clouds. I was daydreaming of another tale to write.

I've wanted to write stories since I was a little girl fiction, non-fiction, drama, romance, you name it I loved it. The day I first heard God speak to me I was daydreaming about a story of an African girl. The girl in my story was free to roam the desert as she pleased. She had dark skin, and thick black hair. She smiled all the time, and had a lot of friends. She was peaceful. In front of my vanity mirror, I wanted so desperately to be her that day. I wanted to escape to that African Sahara were there no problems, no father going out to sea, no sad mother, or men coming in and out of her life. Like that African girl I'd be free to just be me. Her life was simple and she was at peace. As I put my pencil to paper to write her story, I heard someone say.
Baby Lauren and my little brother

“I hear you Lauren, and I love your stories.”

I remember turning around, and looking for someone else in the room. It was just me and that still voice.  “One day Lauren you stories will travel oceans. You’ll tell amazing things,” the voice said. I felt myself getting excited hearing this still voice describe my future.


“You will be on magazines. You will sell books, you will be everything you want to be. But… you will have a heavy cross to bare. I can’t tell you what that means right now, but with me you will be able to carry your cross, and you’ll use it to set my people free.”


One of my first television jobs, where I learned the power of story telling. #NBC12ANDME


I had no clue what any of this meant. When I was a child, I went to church, I knelt at the altar, I got saved every Sunday cause I felt so sinful, but no one ever told me about God speaking to His children this way. When I first heard the still voice I chalked it up to my vivid imagination, but I never forgot it. Decades and many moons later I now know that still voice was God reaching from his kingdom to tell a wishful little writer that her life had purpose, but that didn’t mean she was immune to pain.

December 2016 days after my Christmas Eve, that still voice broke through the darkness of my depression and shook me once again.

 “Lauren, it's time to get up from this. I can tell you now what your cross is," the voice said. Your cross to bare is your mental illness, your heartbreak, your loss, your pain, the betrayal, the squandered dreams, your depression, your anxiety, your fear,” He said. “It’s time now my child to pick up your cross, and set my people free. Show them how God's children get up from pain and loss. Show them how I set you free today. Show them you are brave my child.”
I know now my truth sets me free....... 


I cry when I think of this beautiful, painful moment in my life. 

“Your story Lauren Hope will set my people free from shame, judgement, the stigma of mental illness, the pain of losing love, betrayal, loss, and difference.”

“Father, I have nothing to give. I am overweight, jobless, scarred, depressed, suicidal, and alone. I’d die today if I could,” I replied.

You can get up from this Lauren. It’s time to get up from this. I never promised you, life would be easy NEVER. I promised you I’d help you endure it. I will help you endure it child NOW GET UP,” He commanded."

“Father I ruined everything. I left the dream job, picked the wrong men, trusted the wrong friends, did the wrong things. I am of no use to you. My own family doesn’t understand my pain and we share the same blood,” I said with tears streaming down my face.


Taken my 32 bday. No family called, texted or gifted.
But  I've never felt so free.

“Let it go Lauren. The plan I have you is far greater than of those things. Just like I told you as a little girl your story will show the world how to overcome. And, when I restore you again…. You tell them that you love an amazing God. When I bring you riches, you tell them God brought you through. When you fail, you tell them you love a God that loves you anyway.”

That night I cried. I cried for the men I thought would love me forever, the friends I loved like family, the job that almost killed my spirit, and the past I was too ashamed to face. I have not been the same since. 

The next day, air was crispier, sunlight had new meaning, and Lauren Hope remembered again why God made her a writer, a journalist, a blogger, and a storyteller.  I believe the best story-tellers are lights in the world. They shine a light on injustice, discrimination, pain, loss. They shine a light on the good in the world, the victories, and the triumphs. They are seekers of the truth.

With my boy Apollo rocking a  'This is My Brave Shirt'
They motivated me to keep blogging
Check them out www.thisismybrave.org



The beautiful thing is the more I share my story, the more liberated I am. The more I share my story the less shame I carry, the less hurt I lug around, and the less depression lingers. It is true what the word says, the truth will set you free…. Now that I’ve seen what it’s done for me I want the same thing for other people. That is why I started Good Girl Chronicles LLC, a blog, social media consulting, public speaking, mental health advocacy company with a strong desire to tell powerful stories about people.


My first headshot as blogger, media guru,
founder of Good Girl Chronicles LLC


You can join this journey of mine as a subscriber, or I can help you craft your own story as a contributor. I’m blessed to have Jacquelyn Grace, my first and only contributor, who tells beautiful stories about love and friendship. I’d more writers like her.
Telling your story sets you free … I have a story to tell… I know you do too…. At Good Girl Chronicles LLC we want to listen.

Sign up www.teamgoodgirl.com Subscriber fee is 1.99 , Contributor Fee is $3.99 You will receive an exclusive monthly newsletter, videos, pictures, and stories only for subscribers.
Your money goes to further Good Girl Chronicles’ mission of story-telling and helping you craft yours.





The Bravery of Telling Your Own Story: Good Girl Chronicles Misson

The Bravery of Telling Your Own Story: Good Girl Chronicles

When I was a television reporter I had the responsibility and privilege of telling people’s stories; some of them good, a lot of them bad. The hard ones still haunt me, make me question humanity, traumatize me when all I want to do is see the good in the world. The images of a Newport News mother being gunned down in front of her kids, the crying family members I couldn’t comfort, the black men I couldn’t love back to life. These images overwhelm my mind sometimes. A therapist once told me it was Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She explained that is could be fueling my sadness, and the darkness that made me not want to live. I was a reporter at the time, and I didn’t want to hear it. I thought PTSD was only for combat veterans and service members. I  now think she made have been right.

My goal as a television journalist or so I thought was simple, “Tell their story, be fair, and go home.” It’s all I ever thought I was supposed to do as a journalist.

My News Directors (tv bosses) told me to be bold, and harsh at times in the pursuit of the truth. Chase down the politicians, zoom the camera lens on the face of the grieving mother, you make the viewer feel something. No one said anything about me. What the images did to me as a story-teller, a person, a black woman, a friend, a sister, a future mother, a human. No one taught me how to deal with the pains of what I saw. No one told me how painful, grisly, and ugly it could get to be a journalist. As a blogger and writer I know now that story telling is BRAVE! All those people who shared their pain, pleasure, victories, and losses with me as a television reporter took a huge leap of faith. They trusted in me as a historian of that moment in time, and they took a bold move to share with the world a little piece of them.

Everyday, I wake up with a mission to put God first, stay real, and tell my story no matter how ugly it can be at time. These are my truths: I am clinically depressed, anxious, alone, scared at times, homeless, fat, childless, manless, complicated, struggling, naughty, sinful, broken. This is me. I am also bold, fearless, fighting, growing, loving, intense, intoxicating, magnetic, sexy, powerful. I AM BRAVE.

My Heavenly Father says I am beautifully and wonderfully made, an overcomer, a conqueror, the woman at the well, a David in the midst of Goliath, a lover like Solomon. I AM BRAVE. John 8:32 says, “The truth will set you free.” These are my truths, and now I’m unafraid to tell my truth to the truth.


My life as a blogger and writer has not come without sacrifice. My family has abandoned me. Our relationship is more legal than love. Men are intimated and scared to love me. People I thought were friends threw the most pointed daggers when all I needed was for them to listen. People have taken advantage of my weakness, played on my tenderness, and walked away. When I pleaded for help from the world, they told me I was weak, not #adulting, ripped my character to shreds. I am human. I am flesh and bones so when the world shit on me it hurt like hell. But, I’m thankful I know and praise an amazing God; a God that loved the woman at the well, even though she was sexually sinful. I love a God that helped David SLAY Goliath.  I love a God that showed Daniel how to read dreams. I love an amazing God. I love a God who told me even as a child that I was a story-teller, a woman of discernment, and I’d touch thousands all because I dared to share my story.

To be continued ..... Good Girl Chronicles is stepping up their game. My web developer is revamping my websites and in the future stories like this will be for subscribers only. Sign up at www.teamgoodgirl.com