07/12/2013 05:09 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

In Praise of an Extra 20 Pounds


Originally published on Yahoo! Shine

I carry an extra 20 pounds, which I prefer to the extra 40 that I used to have. I've come to think them as individuals, these 20 hangers-on, but when considered together they constitute my powerful Corps de Chub. Some of them leave for awhile then come back. I like to think they miss me. About a dozen of them don't ever leave the house. I think they need a job, but maybe they've already found it. They stitch a cloak while I'm not looking.

It took me awhile to realize I'd gained weight. It happened so fast that I would sometimes look down and wonder, "Whose body is this?" Which question coincided with losing myself almost completely, which loss prompted a depression. I very nearly lost my body altogether. My body's question was an urgent one, powerful even. They often are. My body carries my story. Every heartbeat a syllable. Know your body, know yourself.

I was told, "I'm your last chance to be a wife and a mother, so you better behave yourself." He was a vegetarian, heavy on the carbs. I wasn't. Not when we met. Everything my body wanted was called into question; babies, beef. I turned 35. I stopped turning heads. I stopped being seen much at all. I was hiding. It was a natural thing. I was losing my easy, early power. I hadn't yet figured out what came next. I panicked, not realizing the Corps de Chub had gathered to grant me a superpower. My newly recruited chunk swaddled me in a cloak of invisibility until I could see properly again. Until I healed.

When someone asks about your superpower of choice, they'll usually reduce the list to flight or invisibility. The one you choose says a lot about the story you tell yourself about yourself. Flight suggests confidence and power. A flyer is not afraid to be seen by the world. She who chooses invisibility would rather hide. There's shame in it. It turns your body into a secret. I've been a flyer, even going to hang gliding school. But at some point there it was, puckered, in my lap, the mantle of invisibility. Mine to take up. A good thing to notice, or I would have missed an opportunity. A gift. A superpower, people!

One of the key benefits of invisibility as a superpower is the power to observe at close range. Also: stealing stuff. But let's stick with the less morally vague.

One of the handiest things to observe is your belly. I mean, it's just hanging there, you might as well put it to work. The grossness of a belly is like the hair from the beautiful head that is revolting in the soup. If all you see is ugly, change your lens. Maybe a macro. Get in close. Instead of diminishing, magnify. Observe your belly inch by inch, until you really feel each inch's softness, its give, its warmth. Declare your belly inch by inch until you sense the wonder of each tiny cell and its own little life within you. Your belly contains multitudes. They too, have been invisible. But you notice them now, so they're not. Pull out and do crunches or whatever, but remember what's actually there.

Invisibility allows you to see other people this way too. Go macro on them until you see beauty. Your lens. Your choice. Your reality. You're invisible. Observe them with compassion for as long as you are able. No more, no less. Adore "no". It's your other superpower.

Wait, you want to read the rest of this? You totally should. It's right here on Yahoo! Shine.