The Urban Dictionary defines panus as, “an extra large roll of abdominal fat which can extend anywhere from the genitals to the knees.” The medical dictionary would define panus as “a nonspecific term for an enlarged lymph node.” Either way, as I was standing in the shower last night juggling mine about, it came to me that I should name her. I mean, she’s been with me since my thirties. She’s been there through the good and the bad and all I have done is berate her, sneer at her, complain about her, and hate her. I have called her ugly, I have shamed her, and I have done everything in my power to get rid of her. All this hatred, shame, and name-calling has gotten me (and her) no where. I’m exhausted.
So yesterday, I decided to befriend her; give her a name, and begin to get to know who she is and how she contributes to my life. I named her Esther. Although society shuns her and doctors fear her, Esther contributes to my health by protecting from disease and will do what she can to ensure I live a long and healthy life. In fact, long term research studying millions of people has demonstrated that those defined as “overweight” and even “obese” according to the BMI live longer than those noted as “healthy” or “underweight”.
No matter how horrible I have treated her, Esther continues to fight and support my health. So from now on I will ensure that Esther is appreciated. I will talk nicely to her, be grateful for her, and work towards valuing what she does to support me. If society talks trash about her, I promise to stick by her side and never betray her again. I will accept her for what she is and promote that acceptance so others may embrace their panus (or pani?). I mean, what choice do we really have? Live a life full of self-hate, body shame, and diet after miserable diet or learn to accept and be grateful for the bodies we have today (even if you are not fortunate enough to own a panus yourself)….maybe one day, you will.
Yours in Panus Love,