We’ve had the honor of speaking to Lauren Fellows, a recent graduate of City House’s Transitional Living Program who is taking her life back from difficult times. In Part I of her interview, Lauren talked about what she’s currently up to, how she found City House and what it was like there, relaxing with makeup, and her supporting boyfriend. In Part II, she reflects on family, her hardships, and her future.
MB: Although you’ve both been busy with work, you and your boyfriend try to spend time together, and you hang out with friends whenever you can. You’ve also found so much support from City House. What was your family like?
LF: I don’t get along with my family that much. Most of them were supportive, but the one that was really supportive was my aunt, who called Job Corps and gave me their number and everything. She was just, like, really supportive, and she helped me a lot. She was there for me most of the times. And she still is. If I call her, text her, she answers.
MB: Aside from family members, have you had any role models? Anyone in film or other media?
LF: I just look up to anyone who has been through struggle and came out of it and didn’t let it kill them. I was at City House, and I was working, and it just seemed like I wasn’t making ends meet. So I was like, “What is going on? Why are things not happening? Why am I not making enough money and I’m working all these hours? And I don’t have anything to show for it.” I was on the verge of losing everything. I didn’t know what to do. So I just kept praying about it, kept working, and I eventually came out of it.
MB: You have done so much.
LF: Yes, I was losing everything. And nobody was really there for me. I was there for myself. But then again, I also didn’t really talk about it with a lot of people. I didn’t really want to talk about it because it just made me mad every time I thought about it. I didn’t feel like anybody would understand, so I just kept it to myself.
MB: Do you feel differently now that you’ve been through City House? Do you feel like people would have understood?
LF: Not really.
MB: Not to the extent you’ve been through, right? They can sympathize, but they can’t really know.
LF: I still don’t think anyone understands that I was on the verge of losing everything. I had nothing. I don’t think anybody can understand that unless they’ve been through the situation before.
MB: There are youths living in City House, too, who may be going through the same situation. What advice or message would you give to them if they were also losing hope?
LF: Just pray, don’t give up, just keep going. There’s always light at the end of the tunnel. When everything was happening to me, I was going through a deep depression. I was super depressed. It was affecting me to the point where I would go to work and then couldn’t really work, because I was so emotional and so stressed out that they would have to send me home. It was a very dark time. And then to not have anybody be there for me… I mean, I already felt like I was alone, but that just made it even more real.
MB: And yet you did it. That’s something I have so much respect for in you. You’re coming out of depression, you came out of almost losing everything.
LF: Yeah. At the time, I didn’t have a choice but to pull myself up by the straps and keep going.
MB: Are you pursuing any interests now? Anything fun in your free time?
LF: If I do have any free time! I’m really just at home, or I go see my friends, but other than that, I don’t really do too much. I work, like, all the time!
MB: I guess if you did have free time, it would be doing makeup and looking up fashion?
A big thank you to Lauren for spending time with us and sharing her story. Follow her day in A Day in the Life of Lauren Fellows next week.