Swimming Pool Blues(Shattered Image Book Excerpt #9)

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This is the ninth  excerpt of my book “Shattered Image-My Pain And Triumph Over Body Dysmorphic Disorder” It is a book about childhood bullying and the effects it has on unhealthy self image,the choices we make to deal with it. For me it turned into Body Dysmorphic Disorder. Those choices were eating disorders, alcoholism, drug addiction and a suicide attempt. Most importantly, I talk about the  steps I took to climb out of “the pit” to a confident, healthy self image and lifestyle. Release date is tentative for June-August 2013


Summer 1998. Sitting at the pool at the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas. I love Vegas.  I can get drunk and do massive amounts of cocaine with impunity. I can be the Brian I think  I need  to create even if it is just until the high wears off. A beautiful, sunny, summer day. Eggs frying on the sidewalk hot.  The cloudless, blue sky looks like it stretches back to Dallas, Texas.  The Hard Rock pool is the place to be. Beautiful people all around me.  Beautiful women, muscles and six-pack stomachs are everywhere. Everyone having fun.  At least that’s what I see.  The outgoing, in-shape model guys with pretty girls and groups of people happy to be with them. I am alone, so alone.  Another failed marriage moving into my rear view mirror. I will never meet someone again. Too many defects.  I want to be one of those beautiful people.  I never will be. Everyone is  showing off their workouts and fitness.  My mind does not process the infinite variation of real people and body types.  I won’t take my shirt off. I am at the height of my steroid addiction.  Very muscled. I still wont take my shirt off.  It is there for my eyes to see like they have Superman-like, fat-calibrated, laser focus.  The gut.  The love handles.  The baldness.  The reflection in the water.  It follows me.   It tortures me.   I hate the way I look.  I hate myself.  In my mind, everyone else hates me.  In my mind, they are laughing.  I am ashamed of my pool fears.  It is trivial.  There are people starving and dying all over the world  and I am obsessed with my gut. I can’t help it.  No one will understand. Only more shame will come.

The drugs and booze tell me to take my shirt off.  Into the pool. Everyone is staring at me and laughing. That’s what I see and feel. I check my self out. What are they laughing at?  I should look good.  I even intentionally puked up my dinner and alcohol the night before. There they are. Those love handles.  Like Mount Everest divided in two. I try not to look down but I am compelled.  A stomach that is hanging over my loose swimsuit specifically chosen so it does not hang over. It’s really not but that’s what my  distorted brain signals tell me.  I head for the corner of the pool. I feel  eyes follow me. I get out. I am going to take off my shirt! I look good!  Not really. I take it off. I cross my arms over my stomach. I stretch my shorts out so my stomach looks flat. It’s not working. I can’t hide it.  Some  more cocaine and alcohol will solve my problem. I will be back. Back to my room. I will never take my shirt off again. I can’t wait to get home to the darkness and seclusion I have created to hide myself.  I hate the pool. I hate myself.


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