Everyone knows Mark Cuban’s resume: Dallas Mavs owner. Shark Tank star. Cyberdust co-founder. Investor. He’s about as public figure as they come.
You probably aren’t as aware of Mark’s younger brother, Brian Cuban. A First Amendment lawyer in Dallas, Brian is one of my favorite follows on Twitter for a couple reason. First, he went to Penn State and is one of the few big Twitter personalities who understands the school’s culture without being a snarky, condescending prick about it. As an alum, that’s something I always appreciate. Second, he’s extremely insightful about the struggles of addiction to drugs and alcohol. While many clam up on the issue, Brian’s extremely upfront and transparent about the battle he’s waged with booze, cocaine, and eating disorders since his college days.
He regularly writes about addiction and eating disorders over on a blog called Cubanity at Psych Central. It’s 100% worth reading. But I think his post today is extremely captivating to us bleacher creature media consumers who have always wondered “hey, isn’t your older brother Mark?”
Today he published a deeply personal post on this subject. It’s called “Your Bro’s A Billionaire: What Problems Could You Have….?” It’s well-worth the read:
I get that statement/question on a fairly regular basis in social media when I talk about my mental health issues. I also get the fairly regular “you live off your brother’s coattails” or some variation.
How did the “famous” last name affect my path, identity and life in addiction? I get asked that quite a bit. It’s a fair question.
There was a time when such statements would be intensely hurtful to me because I knew that at a time in my life, they were true. I WAS living off the last name “coattails”. I had no identity or “brand” of my own. I was simply “Mark’s brother” I was an addict. It was nothing he encouraged or created. I allowed myself to be that. Our father encouraged us to be individuals and forge our own unique path in life. We all have our own lives to live and hopefully create our unique footprint on society in a positive way.
He then delves into how all this personally affected him:
As to how it affected my past, we have to start by putting it all in historical context. My eating disorder started as a freshman at Penn State in 1979. I was abusing alcohol by 1980 and cocaine by 1986. All long before Mark became famous as most would define the word. Simply put, my last name’s ascent into public familiarity was not a trigger for any of my disorders. Those triggers to the extent we can say anything correlates more than the other, started as a child. Fat shamming at home and weight based bullying at school being two of the more prominent issues.
So it had no effect? I did not say that. It did, but it had nothing to do with Mark. It was all about me. For all of my life before I went into recovery, I had no identity of my own. I would create “identities” that would enable to me survive day to day and appear “normal” to the world around me. I did not want my family, friends and romantic relationships to see that monster in the mirror I saw every day born of body dysmorphic disorder. A creature who was unworthy of love, friendship or the ability to love myself.
When in 1999, my last name because fairly well known through Mark’s sale of Broadcast.com to Yahooand then in the year 2000 with his purchase of the Dallas Mavericks, I already deep in self-loathing, bulimia, alcohol and drugs as well as steroid abuse. THAT was my identity. I will never forget the day I had a doctors appointment the week it was announced that Mark had purchased the Dallas Mavericks. A nurse in the office asked for my autograph. My autograph? Someone took interest in me! I was someone! The feeling of acceptance in that moment was as powerful as any drug I had taken. I had my answer. I had my identity. Simply being “Mark’s brother” would gain me the love and acceptance I wanted all my life but for all the wrong reasons.
All I’m saying is you should jump over to Psych Central and give it a read. There’s some great food-for-thought we can all take away from it.