Thursday, July 23, 2009

On-line Community and Friendship

In Bandster talk onederland is when the first number of your weight drops to a one. One hundred and something instead of two hundred or three hundred. You hit onederland when you drop to 199.9 lbs. Bandsters put count-down tickers to record their weightloss on their posts to various threads. You see their starting weight, current weight and goal weight. Those who "band" together during a certain month will pick a name which they proudly display in glitter letters on every post.

They celebrate various goals along their journey--onederland being one of them. They celebrate their "bandiversaries", one year, two year, etc. anniversaries of their band date. Jargon has always been a way to bind groups together.

Currently, many of the June Journeys are experiencing "band hell," that time when fills have not begun or not yet begun to make a difference with food restriction. I know I was very careful the past two days and finally lost almost 2 lbs. But today I'm hungry. Actually feeling stomach growling hunger. I'm trying to stick to protein but after I eat it I'm hungry again quickly. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day. My first fill is August 11 so I've got a ways to go. So far I've lost 28 lbs. I'll be halfway when I reach 35 lbs lost and goal weight will be a 70 lb weight loss.
My clothes are falling off me. I need to go to the thrift store to find clothes--especially pants--that will see me through only a month or two--before they outgrow me. Pants are, of course, the hardest thing to buy at a thrift store.

Its nice to know I'm not alone on this journey. Its fun to discover and participate in a whole 'nuther world that has its own language and celebrations. My 50's plus group is talking about getting together. Deciding where in the United States to do that could be a real problem because we come from all over.

Some people denigrate the various internet communities like Facebook and, I'm assuming, Lapbandtalk as creating artificial intimacy. To me, it feels more like making acquainatances, checking each other out, finding common interests. and possibly establishing some unexpected friendships. There were times when I was in counseling groups and Alanon groups that I experienced some of the best sharing and friendship I've ever had. When the groups fell apart it left a hole in my life. We laughed and cried together, we went out for coffee together, we gave each other advice, but mostly we just listened.

I'm thinking Lapbandtalk is a gracelet (a little piece of God's grace) that's allowing me to once again conversate and share stories with people with a common interest. Before, it was the common interest of having a relative with an addiction. Now its our own addiction. Before the summer is out I hope to find a non-judgemental, non-rule driven support group that will help me continue this lifestyle change. But in the meantime, these fellow lap band journeyers with their willingness to share their stories have become friends. I don't always know their faces, but I'm beginning to know their stories.

In my life I've changed addresses, churches, husbands, interests, and jobs, and each of these changes has brought about a loss of friends. They get harder and harder to replace. I'm going to take my friendships where I can find them. And that includes the internet.