Tag Archive | "Brian Cuban"

Kicking My Own Ass

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Kicking My Own Ass


brian_cuban.ashxFall 1986.  I had just moved to Dallas  from Pittsburgh after  graduating from Pitt Law.  I had not yet passed the Texas Bar Exam. I was looking for any work I could get to support myself while I studied.   Coming from a relatively “small” city to one the size of Dallas was overwhelming. I had never experienced anything like Dallas traffic and the sheer size of the interstates.  They seemed like runways to me.   Driving around in a car I borrowed form my brother, I was continually getting lost and was always late.  Finding myself three lanes over from my exit and  having to continue three more miles to get the next exit to turn around was my regular routine.  One particular afternoon, I was running late for a job interview.  I was once again stuck in bumper to bumper traffic and missed my exit. I began to scream at the top of my lungs. Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!  How can you been so stupid Brian!  You’re an idiot Brian!

Gut wrenching screams from from deep within.  Pain going back to the eleven year old child who has been told he was a “dumb bunny” by him mother. Bullied over his weight by other children.   Now a Twenty-five year old “dumb bunny” missing his exit and  late for  a job interview.  In my mind, that was me.  As I drove the interstate screaming in my car, I began to punch with a closed fist  on the right side of my head.  I had no sense of the vehicles next to me watching my insane, violent display nor did I care. I had to punish myself.  With each blow to the side of my face and right temple,  I felt the release of my stupidity. Each blow was harder and harder as I tried to release the shame of that eleven year old child, held so deep.  As I finally reached the next exit,  I struck a blow to the right side of my head with such force that it struck my side window and cracked hit causing my car to swerve off the road.  I was black and blue on the right side of my face,  cut, and had a huge lump but fortunately  did no further damage.   A calm  came over me.  The feeling that I had inflicted enough damage on myself for being stupid. I had been sufficiently punished for missing the exit.  A little too much to explain in a job interview.  I turned around and went home.

June 2013.   I am reading an article about the passing of Sopranos star, James Gandoflini.   In the middle of the article, my breath stops and my mind starts reeling.  Repressed  memories come flooding back.

“Gandolfini’s wife described increasingly serious issues with drugs and alcohol, as well as arguments during which the actor would repeatedly punch himself in the face out of frustration”

I felt  nauseous and was close to a panic attack.   Memories of the missed exist.  Memories of the ritual punching myself in the face every-time I made a mistake in law school, when I felt I had disappointed my family When I did not feel good enough in my ability to navigate life.  Calling in sick from work when there were marks left by my physical assault on myself.

Why did I suppress these memories?  Maybe for the same reasons I did not talk about my struggle with anorexia and then bulimia for twenty-seven years. Shame.  Self harm is cutting.  Self-harm is what teens do. Grown men don’t punch themselves in the face until they are black and blue. People will think I am nuts.  Even today,  when I feel like I have been a “dumb bunny”, I  can  sometimes feel that right hand heat up with the urge to hit myself.  The feeling that it will solve everything.  It won’t.   As I factor those memories into my recovery I will say that they have made me more aware of how bullying and fat shaming can lead to so many different destructive behaviors in an attempt to punish ourselves and reinforce what we’ve been told.  Self-harm does not discriminate by age or sex. I engaged in it.  Through years of therapy and self exploration,  I have learned that I am not a dumb bunny. I am worthy of love no matter what the eleven-year-old child tells me sometimes.  If you are engaging in self-harm,  reach out and let the people who love you, help you.

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 eating disorders and Body Dysmorphia Disorder (BDD) and drug addiction. Brian speaks regularly about his recovery and breaking the male eating disorder stigma.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Brian Cuban Discusses His New Book, “Shattered Image”

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Brian Cuban Discusses His New Book, “Shattered Image”


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Lightning Source Moves Like A 100 Year Old Turtle.

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Lightning Source Moves Like A 100 Year Old Turtle.


Screen Shot 2013-08-22 at 6.18.51 PM

My new book(and my first), Shattered Image,  launched on August 8th.  By critical review accounts and to some extent sales(for a self published book), it was a successful launch.  It was successful until about a week into the release,  when my book suddenly ran out of stock on Amazon and became back ordered anywhere from 1-3 weeks to 2-3 weeks. This should be impossible. Why? My book is Print On Demand(POD) as most self published authors are.

Despite the fact that my book should be printed with each order and shipped it is now shipping in 1-3 weeks per the mysterious back-order notice that appears on my Amazon Book Page.  It is not there on my BarnesandNoble.com book page so I will assume this is some type of problem specific to Amazon.  Bottom line. Its costing me money every day.  Every day someone looks at my book online, sees that its back-ordered 1-3 weeks and chooses another book instead n the same genre that is available immediately.

Now you’re asking, What is  Print on demand (POD)?  POD is a printing technology and business process in which new copies of a book (or other document) are not printed until an order has been received, which means books can be printed one at a time. Compare this to standard publishing in which books are published in “print runs” of thousands of books which in many cases end up unsold and are returned to the publisher. This would be quite an expensive hurdle for self-published authors like myself who could not afford to buy thousands of books up front. Better just to pay for, and sell one at a time as ordered. There theoretically is no back-order. the book is ordered, say on Amazon, it is printed through my contracted POD vendor, Lightning Source and shipped out. Boom! Book sold and shipped immediately. The was what I thought I paid for through my Publisher, Netminds, who contracted with Lightning Source.

Why is this happening? I have no idea. Maybe it is the fault of Lightening Source Maybe it is the fault of Amazon. Maybe Amazon is trying to stick it their competition at the expense of self published authors who have done nothing wrong. Admittedly, Lightening Source can’t ship until they get the order from Amazon.  If  Amazon does not tell them for 1-3 weeks there is nothing to print or ship.  I get that.  Either way, this seems clear. Lightening Source  apparently does not have the clout to fix the problem. A problem that does not seem to plague authors from standard publishing  houses. The small author like myself is stuck in the middle getting screwed. And when your only two sources of online distribution are Amazon and BarneAndNoble.com, it amounts to a royal screwing.

If you are a self published author and something goes wrong on Amazon, there is really no one at Amazon to talk to you. You have to have a POD company, like Lightning Source that can go to bat for you and get things fixed before you go broke not selling your book which is what is happening to me.

Maybe Amazon is sticking it to all their POD vendors to incite just this type of angry reaction from authors causing them to switch services. It’s working. I will probably be forced to take my book offline when I switch to  another POD printer because of their(Lightning Source’s) impotence on this issue.  POD for Lightning Source?  Pretty Old Dog.  Limping along with the 100 year old turtle.Screen Shot 2013-08-22 at 7.46.33 PM Read the full story

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PANTSED!-A Shattered Image Excerpt

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PANTSED!-A Shattered Image Excerpt


943226_10151634657043028_1943166013_n This is an excerpt of my book  “Shattered Image”.  Shattered Image is the story of my struggle with, and recovery from, a compulsive behavior clinically known as Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). That struggle has included recovery from bulimia, anorexia, alcoholism, and addiction to cocaine and steroids. I also suffer from clinical depression. For decades, I engaged in self-destructive behavior with the single goal of correcting a terribly distorted sense of self-image, a self-image rooted in early life experiences.  Release date is August 2013  See what people are saying about Shattered Image!   

When I was thirteen years old, I was “pantsed” by kids I thought were my friends. Or should I say, I was pantsed by kids who I was pretending were my friends in a vain attempt to feel accepted. It was the most humiliating experience of my young life. In reality, it was a physical assault.

While I was walking home from junior high with these classmates, they started making fun of my shiny gold pants my brother Mark had given me, commenting on how tight they were on my fat body. They started pulling at them. One kid yanked them down over my underwear and tore them off me. The rest joined in ripping them into rags that they threw into the street. I was laughed at and taunted about having to walk the mile home on a busy street in my underwear. Many drivers passed and gawked but no one stopped. I gathered up the remaining shreds that were lying on the pavement and tried cover myself up for the walk home—a cross country trek of shame. The message from my “friends” was loud and clear. I was not one of them. The last thing I remember hearing as I stood there in my underwear letting them build some distance from me was, “Hey Cuban, when you get some new pants, get a bra while you’re at it.”

What happened that day was not posted onto YouTube. No Facebook page was created. No one tweeted about it. There was no Facebook. There was no Internet. There was no such thing as cyber-bullying in 1974. It never went beyond the group involved and whomever they told to boast of their deeds. If bullying went “viral” it spread through the lunchroom and classroom. After the incident, kids would come up to me in the lunch line and ask me how I liked walking home in my underwear. I could feel the derisive looks and smirks. How did I handle it? I did not fight back as I had done in summer camp. Instead, I used my tried and true technique of self-deprecating humor and self-degradation. A coping skill I would take with me into adulthood. Ha, they really got me good didn’t they . . . Instead of fighting back or getting angry, it seemed easier to make fun of myself and try to be everyone’s friend, even if they continued to bully me.

I never stood up for myself so nothing happened. I could have fought back. I could have gone to my parents. I could have gone to the school. I did none of those things. Thinking back, the reasons that resonate over forty years later is that I was ashamed. I was ashamed of my body. I agreed with the kids who were humiliating me. I felt I should be humiliated by my inability to control my body. To “fix it.” What I saw in the mirror was a mass of grotesque imperfection, and the bullies had done me the favor of confirming that my thoughts about myself were accurate.

For some kids, the Episode of the Gold Pants might seem like a typical rite of passage, an act of mortification that they might even laugh about as adults. But for me the walk of shame and the public gossip that followed it altered the way I thought about myself for many long years. How is that possible? Why did this one act of bullying have such an outsized impact on my psyche? Bullying is a hot topic in the media now, with new book releases every season about the deleterious effects of bullying culture in the country. We all read reports in the news about children pushed to acts of self-harm by elaborately orchestrated bullying campaigns. The subject has been covered so extensively lately, that there’s even a sort of backlash: a few writers point out that some of what we label “bullying” is an inevitable part of the fabric of childhood and that over-diagnosing the problem is counterproductive.

What some of these conversations miss, however, is that all bullies and their victims are individuals with rich and complex personalities, not just generic social actors. To every experience, we all bring unique innate tendencies along with a network of past experiences. In my case, I already had an innate tendency toward obsessive behavior and shyness, a growing sense of social isolation in a new school environment, and—perhaps as significant as anything—a home life increasingly characterized by discord and verbal abuse from my mom. At school, I badly wanted to fit in, and I lived in constant fear that I’d hear from my peers words that echoed those I’d hear from my mother at home: We don’t accept fat pigs and dumb bunnies into our group.

 

 

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