Gabrielle Union on Toxic Workplaces, PTSD, and Social Anxiety

Talking about Self-Awareness and Anxiety (with Hello Monday’s Jessi Hempel)


MORRA AARONS-MELE: I’m Morra Aarons-Mele, and this is The Anxious Achiever. We look at stories from business leaders who’ve dealt with anxiety, depression, or other mental health challenges, how they fell down, how they picked themselves up, and how they hope workplaces can change in the future.

All right, everyone. It’s time to start season two. Now, for those of you new to the show, we have a point of view around here. Anxiety is normal. It’s a part of leadership, and it just might help you succeed. I wanted to open season two with an anxiety hero. Gabrielle Union is an actress who you all know, whether from her TV show, Being Mary Jane, or classics that I grew up with … we’re about the same age … like Bring It On. Gabrielle is also a New York Times bestselling author and an advocate for reproductive rights, sexual assault survivors, and the LGBTQ community. I invited her on the show to explore some themes that you told me you wanted to hear about, like how PTSD affects social anxiety and our relationships at work and beyond. What toll does a lifetime of trying not to offend people in power have on your mental health? And what’s the impact of a toxic workplace on our mental health?

Gabrielle Union is a hero to many of us who’ve experienced toxic workplaces and decided we just wouldn’t stand for it anymore. In spring 2019, Union and her cohost, Julianne Hough, joined America’s Got Talent‘s 14th season as judges, replacing Mel B. and Heidi Klum. But their tenure didn’t last long. In November, Variety published a report alleging Union’s contract was not renewed after she had urged the show’s producers to report an incident involving a racist joke and after she was told her hairstyles on the show were “too black.” Union took a risk and stood up on behalf of many people who’ve been victims of a toxic work environment. Gabrielle Union joined us recently to look at these issues and more, from being labeled difficult to managing fame as someone with PTSD to why being alone sometimes and making lists make her feel really good.

So Gabrielle, I want to start … How would you define a toxic workplace in your mind, in your experience?

GABRIELLE UNION: I’ve been in so many. I’ve been in the entertainment industry for … geez … 25 years. Thank you for that reminder.

MORRA AARONS-MELE: Sorry.

GABRIELLE UNION: Since I’m only 26. Yeah, so for 25 years, I’ve worked in the entertainment industry at a lot of … in different intersections. When I first started, I was a college student, very bottom of the totem pole. I was working at the bookstore at UCLA, and when I first started, that toxic work environment was loud and blatant and obvious, and the mistreatment was … they dared you to challenge them in a way that you knew not to. So whether that be the overt sexism, the straight-up, “What are you going to do for me in order for you to have an opportunity?” in a way that … you’d think it doesn’t exist now but perhaps-

MORRA AARONS-MELE: It was really like that?

GABRIELLE UNION: Blatant … And this would have been ’95, so imagine what it would have been when Hollywood first started. The amount of privilege that comes with abusive behavior is wild. I don’t even know if I have the right words. It was just open, obvious-

MORRA AARONS-MELE: Unapologetic, right? That was my experience.

GABRIELLE UNION: Unapologetic.

MORRA AARONS-MELE: Because you and I are about the same age.

GABRIELLE UNION: Yeah. It was just a part of … It was a Tuesday. It wasn’t anything that stood out. It wasn’t anything that anyone whispered about. It was just like, “I’m doing this to you, and you’re going to take it if you want this opportunity,” or, “If you want your check to clear,” or, “If you want the next job. It’s just what it is.”

MORRA AARONS-MELE: And in your industry, talk about what happened … and talk about this as much as you want to. How was what happened to you with America’s Got Talent both different and similar to what you might have experienced 20 years ago? I mean, what has changed, and what hasn’t?

GABRIELLE UNION: I wish I had a resolution and could be more clear about that situation. What I can say in relation to that experience not being that unique, that it’s quite common with other work situations that I’ve had at other studios, networks. The accountability is slow across a lot of industries, right? People who have generally been able to do and say anything they wanted are very slow to embrace accountability and change. Just slow.

MORRA AARONS-MELE: And still in positions of privilege …

GABRIELLE UNION: Very slow.

MORRA AARONS-MELE: … so they don’t necessarily have to.

GABRIELLE UNION: They generally don’t have to, until people stand up and stand together and fight back. And we talk about this all the time, because people are afraid of speaking up. And they should be. I’m not going to lie. I’m absolutely not going to lie. We’ve seen what has happened to the Weinstein … the people who stood up and stood out and put themselves on the frontlines. For that first round of women that were very vocal, there was a concerted effort … and it all has come out publicly … of hunting those women, of torturing those women psychologically, of tracking them, of making them feel mentally unstable, and then using that perceived instability against them to try to negate their testimony and their truth.

What I can say as a truth-teller is that there are concerted efforts to hunt you, to track you, to track your family members in an effort to destabilize you, hoping to have a paparazzi or camera person catch you in a moment of despair, and then to use those moments to justify trying to discredit you. So when we talk about being allies and about being truth-tellers, understand that the people who get to that microphone first, who are the first people to tell the truth … not just their truth, the truth … are often the first people with their heads cut off, and there has to be people standing behind them saying, “Me too. This is real. This is happening.” “Me too” has to mean something more than a hashtag, something more than a spiritual movement. It has to be a real movement where the cavalry has to arrive.

MORRA AARONS-MELE: I mean, but even truth-tellers have feelings and have anxiety. I would imagine that … I don’t know, but, I mean, did the Weinstein trial … When you read about something that is either a toxic workplace incident or a harassment incident, does it trigger anxiety in you? And what do you do with those feelings?

GABRIELLE UNION: Absolutely.

MORRA AARONS-MELE: Because you are very much out there on the frontlines.

GABRIELLE UNION: Absolutely, because you’re seeing what happens in real-time. That is the point that they’re trying to make. “I know I’m toxic. I know I do all this, but you see what happens when you speak out about it.”

MORRA AARONS-MELE: So, stay scared and don’t do it.

GABRIELLE UNION: “Nobody will believe you.” Yeah. It’s supposed to have a ripple effect. It’s supposed to send a message to everyone else that, “You will not be believed. You will be targeted. You will lose your job, future opportunities, your reputation,” and they hope you lose your mind, that you lose your soul, that your soul will be for sale in order to keep the status quo in place. That is the goal. Trying to fight past that … That’s why I’m like, “Wow. If not me, then who?” I can’t just call myself an activist or an advocate if it’s really just for retweets and to make sure my timeline is clear and that I’m not really taking any risk. What is the point of … and I’m using my finger quotes here … “making it?” To kiki with the people who’ve been oppressing me? Not for me.

MORRA AARONS-MELE: But-

GABRIELLE UNION: For me, success has to look differently. And for me, success has to look like being a real advocate and really being on the frontlines and figuring out a way of addressing my anxiety in the face of being a truth-teller.

MORRA AARONS-MELE: Well, how do you? I mean, how do you besides … I mean, I imagine you work out a lot. But-

GABRIELLE UNION: Yeah, I work out a lot. But I also live with-

MORRA AARONS-MELE: Where do you put all those feelings?

GABRIELLE UNION: With my therapist. With professional caregivers. And this is the privilege that I enjoy. I have the means to go to therapy more than once a week if necessary, that I can Skype my therapist, that I can … Not just my therapist. Any range of mental health care providers, whether that be the clergy, whether that be … And in this time of crisis and social isolation, I have enough Wifi that I can Skype someone. I have enough resources that I can reach out to shamans. I can reach out to spiritual healers. I could reach out to mediums if I want. I can reach out to my therapist. I can reach out to trained professionals. And I understand that privilege even more in a time of widespread crisis where we need those people who have the ability and the privilege to speak out, to speak out. If you have the ability to address your anxiety … and for me, to address my PTSD … to address depression and still fight, we need you.

Or even as recently as last week … We’re trying to be better allies to the LGBTQ+ community as parents of a trans child. I’m taking on my former bosses and trying to do what’s right, and I was getting pressure to be clear about who I was endorsing for president or who I was voting for before the California primaries. And I was afraid. I was looking at Ava DuVernay’s timeline … she’s a friend, and I follow her … and she was being attacked for talking about who she was going to vote for. And I got scared, and I didn’t say that I was voting for Elizabeth Warren. And when she had to drop out of the race, I couldn’t sleep because all I could think about is, I’m 47. I have enough resources and money and fame and this and that, and I married somebody who has the same, and if I’m afraid to just say who I’m going to vote for …

MORRA AARONS-MELE: But surely, that’s okay to say, “You know what? I can’t take on one more thing.” Surely that is an important piece of being an adult as well, right?

GABRIELLE UNION: It is, but I have been really challenging myself to really be clear within myself. Was this an act of self-care, or was this just selfish because I didn’t want my timeline to be in shambles?

MORRA AARONS-MELE: I want to come back to your legendary, frankly, wit. I read in an interview … I think it was in The New York Times … that you appear to be a natural extrovert, and you’re an advocate of sexual assault victims. You’ve been that way for over 20 years, that when you’re out there, when you’re talking to people, when you’re being that ally, when you were on your book tour, the reporter said you feel a deep need to be emotionally available, open, and talking. But I’ve also noticed that you reference social anxiety sometimes, and I wonder, perhaps, if you are … like me, like many of us … an introvert, or socially anxious, and you sort of use your verbal skills and your great social skills almost as an armor, or it’s something that you put on but you also have to take off sometimes …

GABRIELLE UNION: Yeah. I mean-

MORRA AARONS-MELE: … and take that minute.

GABRIELLE UNION: When I was meeting with a shaman … This is where you start to sound like a wacky Hollywood actress. “So I was meeting with a shaman …” True story, though.

MORRA AARONS-MELE: No joke.

GABRIELLE UNION: I was meeting with a shaman, and he said, “You are surrounded by rape energy.”

MORRA AARONS-MELE: Oh my gosh.

GABRIELLE UNION: I was like, “Whoa.” I was like, “Please break that down. Feel free to break that down.”

MORRA AARONS-MELE: And you were raped. I should just tell the audience-

GABRIELLE UNION: And I was actually raped, and I’m very open about being a sexual assault survivor at 19. And he said, “You are constantly put in positions and situations that are out of your control. Things are constantly happening to you that you have to deal with, and certainly deal with in a very public way that you did not ask for nor did you want.” And I was like “… That is accurate.” And part of that is having to deal with people socially, whether that’s at an event that I have signed up for, or randomly in Target or the grocery store or, last night, walking to get ice cream with my husband. There is a demand for transparency and access and pleasantness at all times, regardless of what I actually may be feeling.

MORRA AARONS-MELE: You can’t draw boundaries.

GABRIELLE UNION: I cannot draw boundaries, because people will then talk about … There’s whole blogs dedicated to bad experiences with celebrities, and I live in fear of that. Or, I live in fear of that one time somebody who is really feeling like they’re drowning, really feeling like they are screaming into a hurricane, and no one is hearing them, and coming across me and needing that connection but at a time where I might feel like I just don’t have it. I would never be able to forgive myself if I was unavailable to that person, and the reality is, I don’t know when somebody is in that place. So, I try to just be as … If I am in public, or if I am making myself available online, that I am as accessible and as open and as kind and as compassionate as I can be. But that just means I have no boundaries.

MORRA AARONS-MELE: Well, what do you do, then? Do you have to literally hide or be alone when you need to take stock and get that alone time to recharge?

GABRIELLE UNION: Yeah.

MORRA AARONS-MELE: Yeah?

GABRIELLE UNION: Yeah. When some people are like, “Oh God, I bet you hate traveling,” and I’m like … For me, traveling is like … Because there’s an expected silence when you’re on an airplane. If I have my headphones on, there is an expectation of privacy and solitude, that people … for the most part, not everybody … respect. When I’m in my car, when I’m on the toilet, I just try to stretch those times out as long as possible. But the reality is, most of my life is in a public space, even in my own home. I am called upon to be any and all things at all times, which I think a lot of us can relate to.

MORRA AARONS-MELE: Well, you’re a working mother, right? So at any level, you are always in demand, physically, emotionally, and otherwise.

GABRIELLE UNION: But yeah, boundaries when you have PTSD, social anxiety, fear … just a fear, a terror … there is a feeling of terror in my entire body when my arms can go numb, and my fingers feel tingly, and my armpits itch, and there’s sweat all over my body when someone touches my shoulder, right? Whether that’s my husband when I’m just not expecting him or a stranger, the response is the same. The physical response is the same. And everyone’s like, “Oh, I didn’t mean to scare you,” and they get offended, like, how dare I have this reaction. I even deal with this with Dwayne, and the hurt in his face when I turn around, and I’m in … it’s just terror.

MORRA AARONS-MELE: I think for listeners, this will be valuable for our many listeners who have PTSD. Do you tell people in your life, “Look, I’m so sorry this triggers me. It’s not personal. Here’s what might happen”? Is there a way that you try to draw boundaries by being open about it? How do you handle it? How do you prepare people for what you do?

GABRIELLE UNION: I try to talk about it as much as possible because I know I’m not the only one, right? And because I’m kind of constantly moving to different cities and different places in my personal life, in my private life, in my work life. I try to just be as open and honest and transparent as often as I can, hoping that maybe someone read an article or listened to a podcast or saw an interview where they’re like, “Oh, maybe I shouldn’t sneak up on Gabrielle because it may not end the way I want it to end.”

MORRA AARONS-MELE: And when you were dating Dwayne, did you say to him, like, “Here’s some instances that I might freak out and here’s what you need to know”?

GABRIELLE UNION: No.

MORRA AARONS-MELE: Really?

GABRIELLE UNION: No, because I was afraid. And I think a lot of us are afraid of being completely transparent, even with the ones we love, because we don’t want to appear defective. A lot of us have been too transparent too fast, and people leave.

MORRA AARONS-MELE: In a relationship?

GABRIELLE UNION: In a relationship, in a work environment. And that’s scary. Imagine you’re-

MORRA AARONS-MELE: Say more about that. What do you mean by that? What does that mean to you? In a work environment, maybe.

GABRIELLE UNION: Yeah, I mean, well, I’m an actor, so I’m constantly on different sets. There’s constantly new people, and me being one of the executive producers on our show and me being number one on the call sheet, I don’t have the luxury always of hiding, of having to make sure that other people are comfortable in a work environment that I am responsible for when I want to be hiding, when I physically want … There are times when I just say, “Can you please move my chair? I just need a minute to kind of pull it together today. I don’t really have it today.” And even saying that is terrifying, and I’m in charge. I’m the boss, and I’m terrified of appearing weak or not together. I recognized that the more I’m just honest, people are like, “Girl, me neither.”

And people will give you grace oftentimes when you least think they will, or compassion. So many people are in this same boat, but because we don’t talk about it, because there’s so much shame surrounding PTSD and anxiety and depression and fear of social interactions, even when you’re in a job or a school where that’s kind of built in, you’ll be surprised how many people are like, “Thank you for saying this, and thank you for giving me permission. Thank you for leading and showing us that it’s okay to take a minute.” And people give you a minute. And sometimes, all you need is to have a minute and to self-talk.

Sometimes for me, it’s pulling into a parking spot at a grocery store. There have been times … and it kind of comes and goes over the last 20-some-odd years … where I have this feeling like I’m going to be robbed or carjacked, or something terrible is going to happen. It’s like, “Insert worst case scenario here,” the second I pull into a parking spot, and I have to sit in my car and tell myself that the likelihood of you being robbed or the likelihood of something terrible happening right now is very low. “It’s okay. You’re going to be okay. Just count. You’ve got your list. It’s going to be okay.”

And for me, making lists gives me comfort and calm. I don’t know how that works with everyone else, but it was something that when I first, first, first … It was almost like a week after I was raped. My workman’s comp kicked in, and it paid for therapy after I was raped, and something that one of those therapists said was sometimes making lists can make you feel like you are back in control of a situation, of doing-

MORRA AARONS-MELE: Do you make schedules, too? Do you schedule out the day and-

GABRIELLE UNION: Schedules, lists, mapping out driving instructions now with … again, this is before Google Maps and Waze and all those different driving apps. I used to have a Thomas Guide, and I would map out when I would have to make left hand turns at uncontrolled signals.

MORRA AARONS-MELE: Wow.

GABRIELLE UNION: That would be enough of a trigger where I just … It’s like I would damn near blackout, like a full-flop sweat, full terror, just massive anxiety attack having to make a left-hand turn without a turn signal.

MORRA AARONS-MELE: Was that about seizing control where you felt like you didn’t have control? What was that about?

GABRIELLE UNION: Figuring out a way to map out a day to give myself to take back some power and to take back some control and give myself a little bit of normalcy. The problem … of course, later, as you find out … Life happens when you’re busy making plans and making lists. Anything that would disrupt that, it could throw off my whole day, my whole week. I would have a month where I couldn’t sleep because I’d made a plan, and something happened. Well, that’s life, right? So, I had to develop more coping mechanisms. But to this day, I still have my lists. Even making the list, whether I stick to it or life happens, gives me a bit of calm. Mentally mapping out a grocery store, or the route I’m going to go in Target, gives me a little bit of calm. Self-talk gives me some calm.

MORRA AARONS-MELE: What do you say? Do you have favorite sayings?

GABRIELLE UNION: “You’re going to be okay. You’re going to be okay. You’re going to be okay. You’re going to be okay.”

MORRA AARONS-MELE: And where do you feel safe?

GABRIELLE UNION: In the bathroom, on the toilet, by myself. I mean, to be …

MORRA AARONS-MELE: Oh, I’m so with you.

GABRIELLE UNION: … because I’m trying to think of other situations, but it’s generally by myself. I am confident in myself. I know what I’m going to do. I don’t always know what anyone else is going to do. I would love to say that my child offers me some comfort, but … I don’t know if anyone follows my child, Kaavia James. She has her own-

MORRA AARONS-MELE: They’re not robots, are they?

GABRIELLE UNION: They are not robots. She does exactly what the hell she pleases, and it gives me a lot of anxiety. So no, I mean, it’s … My husband, he does what he wants to do. Everyone, they’re their own people. I take comfort in myself. I take comfort in my soul. That I know that when I wake up, my intention is not to do harm to myself or to anyone else, and that gives me peace, that gives me feelings of protection, that gives me feelings of comfort. Listening to … I mean, YouTube has 1,001 suggestions, but meditation music that says, “Healing and grounding protective meditation music.” Like, “Calling on the universe-”

MORRA AARONS-MELE: “The warm light flooding your body.”

GABRIELLE UNION: Yes. I don’t know. I couldn’t tell you my seventh chakra from the fifth. I don’t know. I don’t exactly know how far my aura goes, but just the idea of it is comforting. And sitting on the toilet, listening to that music, playing Words with Friends, locking the door so no one is opening it, that is where I feel my most peaceful.

MORRA AARONS-MELE: It’s so funny, though, because I’m nodding my head ferociously. My husband will always say to me … Because I’m like you in that I’m very self-sufficient, and I don’t feel lonely in that, which it sounds like you don’t either. But he always worries that I’m lonely in it, you know?

GABRIELLE UNION: I think it looks alarming, right? I mean, luckily, I think that between the two of us, we have people who don’t like the look of that, and that is nice. That’s sweet. It’s unnecessary, though, right?

MORRA AARONS-MELE: Yeah.

GABRIELLE UNION: I am in comfort. I am in peace. I have given myself this grace to have this time. I had had a really traumatic week. It was the week that Kobe and Gigi passed away. That Sunday, that was just a massive trigger, just the randomness of it, the idea that they, too, probably had a plan, and it was just the worst-case scenario that could have possibly happened. That Thursday, a girlfriend of mine that was one of my party friends that was just always around and full of life and amazing, and she had made the conscious choice to not have kids and to not be married and was living her best life, and she was found dead.

MORRA AARONS-MELE: Oh my gosh.

GABRIELLE UNION: And she was found dead on Thursday, and they reasoned that she’d probably passed away on Tuesday, but they hadn’t found her until Thursday. And it caused this widespread panic and fear in our group, in our crew, and amongst our friends of people who’d made similar decisions, and it made us all really reevaluate our choices – whether we had, out of a fear of being alone, out of a fear of not having the families that we assumed we would have when we were in our teens and 20s … did we make fear-based decisions to have families and to get married or to couple up or to whatever out of a fear of being alone, of this very thing, of dying alone, and nobody finding our body?

I mean, as you could imagine, it was traumatizing, and it just sent us all spinning, and it sent me spinning in a different way. I kept coming back to this feeling of … and trying to understand isolation versus loneliness versus choice, right? And one of her friends, one of Joyce’s friends … and Joyce is my girlfriend who passed away … said, “Okay, let us be really clear here. Joyce died alone, but she was not lonely, and you need to know that there is a world of difference. Her life was full. She had an amazing life that she chose and loved, and it was full and amazing and precisely the way that she wanted to live it. She might have died without others around, but she was not alone. She was not lonely. Take comfort in that.”

And it started me really thinking about my choice at times to be alone and how much comfort I find in that and how much joy I find in that and how necessary it was when I got married and when I became a stepmother and when I became a mother. My alone time is important, and it’s for people to respect that time as not a concern, a need for alarm, but something to be okay with.

MORRA AARONS-MELE: And to be with yourself, because at the end of the day, if you can’t be with yourself, you can’t be good to other people. I truly believe that. The last thing I want to ask you about … You gave a speech in 2012 that it seems to me was a real turning point in your life at the Essence “Black Women in Hollywood” Luncheon, and I watched it, and you wrote about it, and it seemed like you were emerging a little bit from a hiding place. You hinted at this, that you had been sort of hiding behind your wit and your ability to talk about other people, maybe in Hollywood, in your profession, in a way that was very entertaining and very funny, but you also built distance and almost took humanity and community away from other actresses and you.

Then you just sort of unmasked it all and said, “This is crazy. This is wrong. Instead of going after each other, we have to be in community together, especially as black actresses.” You got a standing ovation. If I’m not wrong, Oprah started to tear up with Gayle King. What inspired you to just go for it … and the thing you said, stop working from a place of fear and hiding behind your personality?

GABRIELLE UNION: Yeah. I mean, I had gone through divorce, a show I had been on got canceled, I was in deep therapy, and I was starting to work with a life coach. And just not being able to identify … She said, “Make a list of 10 things that make you happy,” and I couldn’t. My first few things were food items, and one of those was a fake food item. It was imitation crab, and she was like, “Oh. I don’t even know where to begin with you.” It started there, really doing a deeper dive of, “How did I get here?” It’s easy when you reach rock-bottom, like with a divorce and when everybody is doing foul things, and bad behavior is all around. But if I get to the microphone first, and I’m the more famous person, it’s very easy to be like, “All him. None of me. I am the victim. He is the villain, and let me skate scot-free because my brand will be buoyed by me being the victim in this marital discord,” right?

MORRA AARONS-MELE: Right.

GABRIELLE UNION: And that’s an age-old PR playbook that a lot of people use, not just people in Hollywood. And I kind of wanted to face myself, because even though I could get to the microphone first, it wasn’t all him. There was a lot that was me, and I was just sick of lying. I was sick of being that kind of victim. I wanted to be a survivor of my own life. I’m not just standing here, and all these things are happening to me. That was part of it. Again, toxic work environments, toxic relationships, making peace with the toxic parts of my childhood and my upbringing. But at some point, there are things that I contributed that were toxic to all of those things, and it’s time to be honest.

To be given an award about being Fierce and Fearless, I’m going to just get up here and lie? And I’m just going to speak in these odd clichés in a room full of people that I love, in a room full of people that I might have also maligned, in a room full of people who I am inspired by and scared of? What is the most impactful thing I can do with my time on this microphone? If I’m really doing the work, how about I try the truth? And to get that kind of response to the truth and being transparent really changed everything for me. It made me realize I was on the right path, that truth and truth-telling and transparency and sharing this in community … whether that’s a community of black actresses, black women, the black community, women, the global community, where all of my intersections all meet … I get so much more fulfillment from telling the truth and creating more community and knowing that my words might be of help or of service than any check I may cash.

When I got to that realization, that my joy can’t be bought, my joy comes from peace and joy and grace … and whether that’s what I’m offering myself, or what I’m helping, hopefully, to facilitate with other people … there has to be a different definition of success for me. Because there’s too many of us out here, walking wounded, trying. And success, perhaps, is building community. The first step is just talking, connecting, communicating, and telling the truth so somebody else can feel comfortable to tell their truth, so then somebody else can feel comfortable to get help. And then once you get help, you can figure out how to tell people to get help, and then … And then it goes on and on.

You share resources, and you share coping mechanisms and do podcasts and all of these things that create a bigger island. So, when you feel like you are alone on that island, other people are like, “Oh, it’s overpopulated. Look at all of us here trying to get help and offer help and get healing. Look at us all.” There’s another way-

MORRA AARONS-MELE: Even us bathroom-hiders. We have a community of bathroom-hiders.

GABRIELLE UNION: Exactly.

MORRA AARONS-MELE: Absolutely.

GABRIELLE UNION: Because when you’re in the bathroom, you might have your phone. You might be tweeting. You can tweet out links to resources. Or, maybe, you can talk about who you are going to vote for, because maybe creating a sense of community that is going to stand up to bullies, maybe that was the way, and we’ll never know. And maybe this is a massive learning lesson that, if you stand together in your truth, whatever that may be, we are so much more powerful and unstoppable than when we choose fear. And I’m speaking to you from the frontlines of somebody who, at 47 caved to fear, at 17 caved to fear, at 27 caved to fear. And every day, I make the choice, and some days are better than others. So, you have to let yourself off the hook at times, as well, but also hold yourself accountable and just vow to do better today than you did yesterday. Know that your collective truth is power, is healing, and makes a freaking difference. It really, really does.

MORRA AARONS-MELE: Oh, Gabrielle Union. Thank you. Thank you so much for spending time. I wish you good health, lots of space, and you’re such an inspiration. Thank you.

GABRIELLE UNION: No, thank you so much.

MORRA AARONS-MELE: That’s it for today’s show. Thank you to my producer, Mary Dooe, and thanks to the team at HBR and to our guests for sharing their experiences and truth. Thanks to our advertisers and to you, the listeners. I’m so grateful for your feedback. You can always email anxiousachiever@gmail.com or tweet me @morraam. And if you love the show, tell your friends, subscribe, and leave a review. From HBR Presents, this is Morra Aarons-Mele.



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