Featured Article: Gabrielle Union for Redbook March 2018


On shutting down negativity: “When someone starts gossiping, I’ll be like, ‘I can’t.’ It stops people cold. They’ll ask, ‘What? What can’t you do?’ Then I’m like, ‘Listen to this. Yeah, I can’t. It’s sooo negative. Can we go back to your kid spitting? Because that was funny.’ You have to do it with a wink and a nod, but it shuts people down. I used to just do it if the conversation was centered on a loved one – you’re not talking s—it about my friends or my family members in front of me. But now it’s in general, because when you let that into your space, whether or not you’re going to spread it or agree with it, your silence makes you complicit in negative energy, and that comes back.”

On listening to someone else’s story and triggering her PTSD from sexual assault: “On my book tour, a lot of cities felt like a revival—there were so many disclosures of abuse during the Q&A portion of talks and during the book signing; even as I was driving away people were flagging down my car in tears. I didn’t realize how big the need was for so many people to just get it out, to have someone look them in the eye and say, ‘I believe you.’ I cried a lot. I Skyped a lot with my life coach, because the horrors that I was taking in triggered my PTSD. But I feel a responsibility to offer that sense of safety and support. And luckily I have the means to help myself at the end of the night.”

On creating a “happy list”: “I started working with a therapist who asked me to list things that make me happy, and one of my top three was imitation crab! You’re not on the right track if you say imitation crab. So the therapist started to ask questions: ‘What don’t you like? What annoys you? Have you ever experienced euphoria?’ Examine those moments and you’ll start to figure out who you really are.”

On following her dreams: “I make a vision board every year. Some of the pictures on my first one were of a haircare line, Kenya, and a Clearblue pregnancy test. As goals manifest, I’ve been able to look at my boards and say,‘Damn, I put in a lot of work and deserve it.’ That’s helped me to stop feeling suspicious of joy. To not sabotage some­thing before I’ve had a chance to do it because I assume I’ll be rejected. The only things that have not come to pass are a cosmetics line, Machu Picchu, and a baby. I’ve had the positive stick, but also a number of miscarriages, so maybe I just have to go more specific and show a woman with a human being traveling through her orifices. I’ll put those things back on this year’s board and see what happens.” (source)


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