I am pleased to present another short excerpt from my new book, “Finding Your True Self In The Midst Of Chaos which will be published the last quarter of 2015. I hope you enjoy it. This excerpt has not been through the rigorous proofing and editing process the book will go through.
Summer 2006. A local Dallas Strip club. “Do you want a lap-dance’? Blank stare. “Twenty-dollars’ for a dance” My eyes fix gaze on the unknown stain on the floor in front of me. The smell of, perfume, alcohol, drunks and the blaring, bass intense music. I need a shower. I am dirty. Why am I here? I’d rather be drunk and high at my tiny apartment, alone. It is not my first visit to a topless establishment. The floor-stain, probed my memories. I thought back to the first time I went to a strip club. My bachelor party for my first marriage. Prior to that, my only working knowledge of such establishments was the sanitized version of the Million Dollars Saloon on the television show, “Dallas”.
I remember how embarrassed I was that day. Celebrating what turned out to be a short-lived marriage. My first of three short-lived marriages. I was unable to look the young lady in the eye as my friends showered her with dollar bills to give me lap dances. Like this moment, my eyes were fixated on the carpeted floor. Nothing had changed in eighteen years. To look her in the eye or acknowledge her presence in any way would be to expose myself in the most vulnerable of ways. To allow her to see right through me. The ugliness. The self-loathing. Even the rational thoughts from a legally trained mind would not penetrate the ugliness I saw in myself. I knew I was in an environment of business, paying for attention. It however was the same cycle of destructive, projected thoughts. “She thinks I am ugly” “I think I am ugly. The thoughts that would lead me into eating disorders, drug addiction, alcohol and steroid abuse. Bring me to the brink of suicide.
I feel my head move back and forth in a swaying, negative motion. I cannot speak. Like all those years ago, I cannot look at her. I try to blame the alcohol. Maybe it’s “cocaine lockjaw” from some bad stuff. I will have to have talk with my dealer. The floor is my friend. I wanted to blend into that substance. I did not wanted to be noticed. I wanted to block out the gyrations on either side of me. She moves on to another guy. I look at the couple next to me. They are getting a lap dance. They brought me to the club. Telling me how much they love strip clubs. I wont make eye contact with them either. To do so might signal that I enjoy being there. I hated it bu I chose to be there. I could have said no. The alcohol and cocaine said yes. My desire to have kind, self-image enhancing words even if they had no effect. My desire for acceptance born of a fat teenage-bullied child said yes. The drugs had long ago stopped telling me I saw an attractive human being in the mirror It was nothing more than the hard core reality of addiction without the self-image enhancing booster.
Destructive patterns repeated. The desire to me told I was attractive even if it was artificially and monetarily created. I needed to hear those words. Even if it was real, it would not have made a difference. I was broken and not yet at a point where I had any self-awareness of what it would take to begin fixing. That would not come for a while. I cold not take it any more. Everyone in that room saw through me. Saw my shame of body. They were laughing at me. Panic. I bolted from the club. Instinctively realizing that I could not put myself into such environments. Kind of like realizing its time to change drug dealers. My last time in a strip club. Time to get a better grade of cocaine. That will fix everything.
Brian Cuban is a an author whose best-selling book “Shattered Image: My Triumph Over Body Dysmorphic Disorder” chronicles his first-hand experiences living with, and recovering from clinical depression, twenty-seven years of eating disorders and Body Dysmorphia Disorder (BDD),drug and alcohol addiction. Brian speaks regularly about his recovery and empowering students and adults to turn their worst moments into their greatest achievement