SERIES PREMIERE: TRUTH BE TOLD

Welcome to the series premiere of Truth Be Told! Host, Tony Morrison speaks with Good Morning America’s Ginger Zee.

GINGER
I am so over the pursuit of happiness.

TONY
Truth be told, she’s a colleague who has become one of my closest friends. She’s a role model, super mom, author and storm chaser extraordinaire, “Good Morning America’s” Ginger Zee is here! Hi, friend.

GINGER
Hi! That’s a lot of titles. I feel like storm chaser, I was like, yes, super mom, working on it. I got a lot of work to do to fill those titles up. Thank you. I’m happy to be here.

TONY
I love it. We’ll get into mom life a little bit, but first off, you’re on the heels of releasing a new book on top of all you do for “GMA,” National Geographic, “Localish”, “Talking to Tony,” and I don’t know, being a mom, also. How are you doing these days? And what is your secret sauce, in keeping your head above water?

GINGER
Knowing that you don’t really have to. I think just like that actual being okay, having a day that you dip under, knowing that you can have your breathing straw and then like come up the next day, that’s probably what I’ve gotten much better at realizing. And that truly, especially, well in all businesses, but I feel like in this business, on the career side, I love a good weather pun, but when it rains at pours, it really does. And then when it’s, you know, like, drought begets drought and you’re sitting there like, well I’m worthless and nobody is ever gonna want me again and I got old, and then all of a sudden, everybody wants you. And you’re like, yeah, right. Oops. So you have to remember those things, because I think just kind of working through all. And my biggest piece of advice lately is, I am so over the pursuit of happiness. Like, I’m ready to rewrite it all and say, it’s the pursuit of peace with all of the things. Just finding peace with the many times I’ve been frustrated today, the many times I’ve felt a ping of jealousy, the many times I’ve felt joy, knowing that it’s through and not like, sitting in those things.

TONY
I love that. And joy, happiness, peace, they’re all very different things, as well.

GINGER
Yeah. Well, happiness is temporary. Like, why did we ever want to pursue something that’s temporary? Why don’t you pursue something that you can actually sustain? And that to me, is peace.

TONY
I love that. So, “A Little Closer to Home” is the title of your second book. There is apparently, much more beyond the first book. Why write a second?

GINGER
Well, I wanted to write a second before you got done with the first, since it took you a long time to read it.

TONY
This is true, this is true. I’m a very slow reader.

GINGER
No, it was that the first book was really, not intentional. I didn’t think that I was gonna ever write a book like that. I never thought that I’d be someone who’d be talking to other people about my story, because I am an executive level people pleaser. My whole life has been about showcasing my perfection and being that person who you never would think, and that was a big part of my problem, is that I had the inability to show vulnerability. And I think it’s so funny when people are like, oh, man, Instagram’s really like ruining the world. I’m like, listen, I’ve had an IG Reel basically my whole life, because I’ve been putting that on, whether it was, it was just in real life. I had the mask, I had the perfect thing that I needed to show as my outside, far before a platform gave it to me. And I’m not taking away from its ills, because there certainly are. But I think that’s part of being human, in a lot of ways. And so, I look at where we are right now and where I am, and why I ended up writing another book was, my first one was like, hey, just wanna let you all know, I’m really far from perfect. Here’s what I’ve learned about it. And then I saw the outpouring of love and connection I had to other people, and how many people wrote me, ’cause the first one’s called, “Natural Disaster,” and they were like, I’m a natural disaster, too.

TONY
Like me, present.

GINGER
And I’m like, I know.

TONY
I’m here, bought that club, yes.

GINGER
Everybody did. That’s the beauty of it, is we’ve come to this place where we finally are finding community. And if I can tell you one thing I’ve learned from natural disasters, it’s that people grieve and and process that trauma faster than any other. And I’ve been watching it over the last two decades and saying, why is it different? Why is it different than when something happens in our life and we think we need to hide from it? Well, first of all, you can’t hide that a tornado happened. It took your house, it’s gone. A wildfire, took your house. There’s no lying to yourself or there’s no compartmentalizing, ’cause it’s like, you really have to deal with it right then and there. So the transparency and honesty with yourself is there. Then, there’s immediate processing with other people. You have a community, ’cause often your neighbor lost their house, or at least part of their house, too. And so I started thinking if we applied those lessons of how people react to a natural disaster and how they grieve and process, it’s still a trauma. Like, listen, you might have lost a daughter, a uncle. You don’t know. Like, there’s so much that happens there, but people give such grace and they process it so quickly and efficiently and together. And that’s the part I really hope that we can bring and why I wrote a second book, because that’s like, having another disaster with other people.

TONY
I love that. And, you’ve revealed quite a bit beyond the books. Some really dark stuff, Ginger, in your life and your experience and that kind of vulnerability. Is there such thing as sharing too personal of things for you?

GINGER
Yeah, of course. You know, I think there’s always something to be held for yourself and for your loved ones and things. And I will say, it’s interesting ’cause it’s easier for me to share with the broad kind of public community that I don’t really have an intimacy with, whereas, I’m sure that in your story you could say the same, it’s more difficult for your intimate relationships, for your friends, for your family, to share these things and to be open about that because there’s actual stakes. A fan of mine, or a random stranger that also has had some depression and things in their life, that’s a much easier tell, for me to share that story with them, ’cause they don’t really have a connection to me outside of, oh, I kinda like you on TV. My stepfather reading those stories, that was not easy, you know? And that’s the part that I had to process through, but I’m here to say that that honesty and me communicating my feelings, from even my best friends that didn’t know all of that, it’s only made things better, even if it’s hard right at first.

TONY
I love that, and it’s so true. And so how do you handle the bad days? Because it’s not just flipping a switch, right?

GINGER
No.

TONY
What are the tools that are in your toolbox today that you didn’t have before? That are helping you with those bad days when they come?

GINGER
One of them is like, the ability to say not every day is sunshine and rainbows. Like, I say that to myself a lot. And I don’t have to be the person who’s just a big, bright shiny face every second of the day. Like, that’s not real. I don’t know that person, because they don’t exist. And if they’re doing it, then they’re super fake. And that’s not who you’re getting out of me. So, maybe I shouldn’t be in morning television. Maybe it’s like the wrong place. Think we might have learned that a while ago. No, kidding. I think that people are more ready and societally, we are ready a little bit more for the truth and for being transparent with each other. And then the tools for me has been number one, is that honesty with myself. So I often, when I wake up, I like, interview myself. I know this sounds next level but, I’ll say like, how are you doing today? Like, I’m not looking in the mirror every time but I’m doing a self check-in, because very rarely is someone going to genuinely ask you how you’re doing. They kind of want the flippant answer of like, oh, I’m fine, thanks, have a great day. How many times are we saying that in a day? And those are not the connections that I think we need. So I start by asking myself that. I get in the shower, I write something that I’m grateful for on one wall in the steam, and I write something that I’m, wanna make my intention of the day. Like, I used to do it for yoga all the time and I realized, wait, I could do this for my day. And so I write the intention on that wall and then I start my day and I meditate. Those are all in my toolbox. The most important thing that I’ve done is I got the correct diagnosis by going to inpatient care. For me that was necessary. And then, I think that, even if you don’t need that, to me, the part that people have flipped right now is like, if you had access to a personal trainer, most people would be like, sign me up, I’m ready to work, all right? ‘Cause we all know societally that we’re loved, good, healthy, good-looking body, which is important. But I think that if we can flip it, and now what I’ve done is put all my time, energy and money, and I never skip on my personal trainer of my brain, and that’s my therapist. And so I’ve made that my constant, you know? I would, if I had to start budgeting tighter, I’d say I’d get rid of all the other things and that would be the thing that I would say is the most important, because if my mind is right, the rest of me can stack up correctly. Like, the pyramid has got a good base. And so I’ve made that a big change in my life too, and that’s one of the biggest tools. And then finally, I’ll just say that I’ve created the team. And that team starts with, once I say to myself, hey, how are you? And then I’m like, you know what? I’m waking up and I’m feeling kind grayer, not as bright as I’d like to see, I immediately write it down. Then I send, usually a text to my husband, my mom, my therapist. And as soon as I let them know, that little, I look at it like it’s almost like fog, that fog that is kind of like, the monster of depression for me, starts to subside a little bit, because I’m looking at it and I’m like, I know you’re there. Hello. And once I’ve identified it, I think that takes a lot of that scary control over. Now I’ve told my team. So good luck getting through all of us, you know? And that’s not gonna solve it forever, but that’s a start. And at least they’re aware and I’ve communicated it.

TONY
Yeah. So here you are living your truth. Ginger Zee, what is your truth today? Who and what is Ginger Zee that we see right now?

GINGER
Ooh, that’s a scary question. I think I am peaceful, but I think in that peace I’m constantly questioning, did I lose too much of my, kinda like when you fake it before you make it, you know, part? I do think there’s some power in that whole like, put out there what you want and be a little bit more of that. And I am, still, probably too optimistic, too dreamy in many ways. So I don’t think I’ve lost that much of it. But even this morning I was asking Samantha and Max, who, you know, I work really closely with. And I said, “Have we always been this not fun?” “The three of us?” Because we were just kind of having one of those mornings. And as soon as I said it, we all started laughing and it was like, so even though there isn’t the fake it to make it, there is fun within the other part too, you know? And I don’t need to be dancing on a Facebook Live with them, which is how they knew me for a couple of years. And, you know, being like that, every day doesn’t need to be that high energy. And then they were like, “Yeah, we are, but we’re just kind of all over it and over each other today.” And that’s what we’ve gotten through is like, we also are, you know, in that dynamic, we’re kind of like brother, sister, but we tell each other a lot and we have this really great relationship. And then, they hate when I do this, but then like, next week, I’m sure I’ll wake up one day and be like, do you all realize how lucky we are to have each other? ‘Cause I really mean it. And then they’re like, oh great, Mom’s here.

TONY
Ginger Zee, thank you so much. This is such a great conversation. Thank you for just talking about your story, your experience, and hopefully inspiring others to do the same.

GINGER
Thank you. You’re here making it.

TONY
To see more “Truth be Told,” check us out at pluslifemedia.com and follow us @pluslifemedia. Until next time, let your truth be told.

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