Author Spotlight: Gabrielle Stone-Eat, Pray, #FML
Actress, dancer, author, and global icon Gabrielle Stone: how to reclaim your sanity without apologizing for a single F$%#ing thing-in a one-on-one exclusive with Steven Cuoco.
SC: How can we unfuck ourselves without getting fucked?
GS: Well, my first piece of this answer is to accept that you will at some time or other—get fucked. It’s part of life and it will inevitably happen at least once if not more. However when you do find yourself fucked I suggest two things from the book: The Thought Onion and The Self-Love Cocktail.
The Thought Onion I use throughout the entire book. It’s a technique I use to get to the root of what is causing a specific reaction or thought/feeling. You think of it like an onion—different layers that you have to peel away to find the golden nugget of knowledge at the center. First is the superficial thought: the thought that first comes to mind when you’re having an initial reaction. It’s usually, as it sounds, super fucking superficial—and that’s okay, you’re human. Underneath that when you dig a little deeper is the authentic thought: the feeling or belief underneath that is driving the superficial thought. This layer is usually something that will make sense to you but not something you necessarily love to admit to yourself. Then finally, when you peel away that layer, you’re left with what really matters—the subconscious thought. The subconscious thought is where you will realize what the issue is that needs to be addressed or healed. A lot of times people don’t do the work to get to this layer, and here my friends, is where you will unfuck yourselves from anything that has happened in your life.
The Self-Love Cocktail is quite literally the answer to most of your problems. My entire trip I was searching for “how” to love myself. Everyone has always told me you have to learn how to love yourself before you can love anyone else. So I was sitting there going “Okay, I’m ready to do that...how the hell do I do that?” Once I found out how and it clicked, it changed my life. Sit down and write a list of things that you can give to yourself that make your soul happy. For me, it was meditating, working out, eating well, creating, and dancing. Then you have to commit to giving yourself these things—every, single, day. Some days it will be a stiffer drink, like a vodka martini. You may only be able to give yourself one or two things on your list—and that’s okay. Then, once you’ve been consistently giving yourself a few things on your list, you can bump it up to a fruity cocktail. A base of working out and healthy eating, a splash of creating, shaken with some meditation, and garnished with dancing. Before you know it, you feel like a different person. Why? Because to love yourself you simply have to give your soul the things that it loves.
SC: What best advice can you offer to avoid dealing with someone else’s emotional debt?
GS: Oh, the good old emotional debt. I had heard of baggage before and I had some of my own as most of us do. It wasn’t until my relationship with Javier that I truly understood the meaning (and sometimes severity) of emotional debt. Again, my answer will take me back to loving yourself. When I was on my Europe trip I didn’t love myself nor did I know how to. It was because of that I was so willing to give myself up for this man I had fallen madly in love with. He and his needs became more important than my own—and that is never okay. When you love yourself and can put yourself first, you can then know when someone else’s emotional debt is too much to accept. You have to be brutally honest with yourself and not ever give yourself up to take care of someone else. This does not mean you can’t care, love, help, and be there for someone. You just have to know where the line is.
SC: Best advice to handle conflict and disagreements?
Stop. Breath. Laugh if you can. Remember that there is a light somewhere on the other end and it’s usually more magical than you could ever imagine.
GS: Communication. It’s so damn important in any relationship, romantic or otherwise. I’ve been in and out of therapy my whole life, as have a lot of my friends. Learning how to properly and calmly communicate is one of the biggest tools you can have in life. Even when Javier and I were in tears, heartbroken, or upset, we were always able to clearly communicate with each other and get to a resolution because of it. It was so incredibly opposite with me and my ex-husband. I was really incapable of communicating with him a lot of the time. That is a sign that something isn’t right and just doesn’t fit. Trust me, read those freaking signs.
SC: What can someone do to make their day better when it seems like a shit show is happening all around them?
GS: Stop. Breath. Laugh if you can. Remember that there is a light somewhere on the other end and it’s usually more magical than you could ever imagine. Everything happens for a reason, whether it is to learn a lesson, make you stronger, or because something amazing is just down the road. Even when you can’t see it in that moment, it helps to remember that is in fact, all happening for a reason.
SC: How can someone get their own needs met without feeling guilty?
GS: Stop feeling guilty. If there’s something you need you have every right to tell your significant other, friend, whomever, that you need it. The best relationships in my opinion come when you can easily say “Hey, this is something you could do that would really help me,” or “This is one of my buttons from a past relationship. Please don’t press it.” If the person you’re asking isn’t able to hear you and give that to you (and vice versa) then you probably shouldn’t be in each other’s lives in a big way.
SC: Do you ever experience self-blame? And, how do you bring yourself back to sanity?
Stop feeling guilty. If there’s something you need you have every right to tell your significant other, friend, whomever, that you need it.
GS: I think it’s human nature to blame yourself for things. That is a really good time to implement the Thought Onion—because then you can find out why you’re actually blaming yourself and what piece of you needs work to fix that. Of course I’ve blamed myself throughout my life. I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t. And sometimes it’s warranted—but most of the time there is either a bigger lesson to learn from it or it’s just a lot of extra bullshit we’re choosing to hold onto.
SC: How do you resolve noisy chatter in your head?
GS: If I had the answer to that I probably wouldn’t have written Eat, Pray, #FML. Haha. On a more practical level, I meditate. I’m a big fan of Abraham Hick’s guided meditations. They’re on YouTube and are about fifteen minutes each. It’s amazing how deep breathing and some good healing words can reset you.
SC: How can women satisfy their sexual needs, desires and, set boundaries-whether single or in a relationship without feeling dissatisfied?
GS: It’s this awesome little invention called a vibrator. Kidding. Not really, but you know what I mean. I think it honestly depends on the woman. I think it all again boils down to communication. If you’re in a relationship you need to be able to tell your significant other what you want and need to be satisfied. If you’re single and there’s a friend you’re choosing to be intimate with you need to be communicating to make sure feelings aren’t getting hurt and intentions are clear. But really…vibrator.
SC: Is privacy in a relationship important? If so, explain.
GS: Privacy is important in any friendship or relationship (says the woman who wrote a brutally honest book about all of the above). Especially if it’s been made clear that someone doesn’t want certain things shared or spoken about. The basis of every relationship is trust. Privacy (if that is important to the people involved) is part of that.
SC: What constitutes infidelity?
If you’re in a relationship you need to be able to tell your significant other what you want and need to be satisfied.
GS: That depends on who you ask. Some people will say it has to be physical. Others will tell you it can be emotional. Sometimes one is worse than the other when you wouldn’t expect it to be. As far as my opinions with my ex-husband it was both, on a variety of levels. Some people choose to work through infidelity and their marriage is stronger because of it. Obviously, that was never even an option for me. That is a line I will never allow someone to cross and still have me in their life in that way.
SC: How does someone know if they are getting married for the right reason or wrong one?
GS: I guess that’s part of the risk of marriage. I can’t really answer that considering I had the wedding of my dreams and ended up cheated on and divorced two years later. However, I can definitely say that there is no rush. When I got married I was nearly twenty-six and my ex was nearly twenty-five. I thought it made sense that I would get married, enjoy being newly weds for a few years, and have kids by the time I was thirty. Now I’m like—holy shit I’m only thirty.
SC: What’s the best way to handle resentment even when nothing is being said out loud?
GS: Well first of all, say it out loud. If it’s a relationship you care about and want to be healthy, you better find a way to say that shit out loud. Resentment is a poison that will kill you slowly. The best thing you can do is figure out how you can be at peace with the situation—because I can guarantee you, it’s not them who will pay the price.
SC: Favorite quote?
GS: It’s tattooed on my body.
“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I hope to have not a single bit of talent left and can say, ‘I used everything you gave me.’”
SC: Best advise someone offered you?
GS: Keep your heart open.
SC: Any regrets?
GS: That is always such a tough question for me. Of course, I’m not going to sit here and say if I had a do-over I would make every bad choice again. That would be ridiculous. However, if every bad decision, lesson learned, and messed up thing in my life has led me to this exact moment—writing answers to an interview about a book that has already touched so many people—then I’m at peace with all of it.
SC: Closing thoughts?
GS: I’d like to take it back to what I said earlier about there being a light on the other side. Everything truly happens for a reason, I am your living proof of that. When you read Eat, Pray, #FML you will see a woman be lied to, cheated on, heartbroken, and lost. All of that has completely changed in a year. I am so genuinely happy—and I am so freaking thankful for every last bit of it.