Don’t read this book if you want to feel good about yourself.
With so much ugliness and negativity floating around the news and online, good news is sometimes hard to come by, but thankfully there’s a book that will make you laugh, cry, cheer for the authors, and help you love your body as it is.
I am referring to Chicken Soup for the Soul: Curvy & Confident.
This is one of the most powerful (and easy-to-read!) body positivity books I have read in a long time. Each chapter is four pages tops, and reveals little slices of life from 90+ authors who all experience body positivity in their own ways.
The following are summaries of my favorite chapters (other than my own…Chapter 67 if you are interested!) and the lessons learned in each:
- Shape Shifting Editor and trailblazing supermodel Emme had her first big photo shoot in the 1980s. The well-known photographer took one look at her and gasped, “I’m not shooting this fatty!” Aghast by his unprofessional behavior, Emme managed to hold her head high and finish the session. Five years later, when she was at the peak of her career, she got a certain sort of revenge on him. And she reflected on how she grew from the experience. “Despite one man’s limitations, we can all expand our horizons and change our attitudes toward each other,” she muses.
- Exposed – In this short essay, author Kathrine Conroy is very, very hot in yoga class. She wants to take off her tank top, but would she dare to do an entire class wearing a sports bra? She does. And as class progresses, she marvels at her body’s imperfections and how it has allowed her to travel through life. And how it allows her to do the yoga that she loves so much.
- SweetestRedHead – This story really punched me in the gut. After another divorce, author Patrick Michael McIntyre decided to try online dating and met SweetestRedHead. It was her first real relationship and his deepest love. Patrick had to break through the walls that SRH’s low self-esteem had built up around her. But his patience was rewarded with love and joy beyond all telling. Though they loved intensely, the relationship only lasted 2.5 years. I’m not giving away the ending, but this book made me ugly cry. In a beautiful way. It is a story of love beyond weight, and love beyond time. And if you don’t cry just a little, there is something seriously wrong with you.
- Mother of the Groom – I thought this one was the funniest. Writer Anne Merrigan is desperately trying to find a dress to her son’s wedding. At a tiny dress shop owned by two fearless and hands-y Italian sisters, Anne finds a beautiful dress. And despite her flaws, the Italian shopkeeps acknowledge them but point out the best parts of her “”Gooda arms!” “Gooda legs!” “We shorten gown. Showa leg.”). They give Anne the confidence to fly solo.
Packed with heart-warming quotes to introduce each chapter, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Curvy & Confident is a wonderful read. The short chapters make it perfect to pick up and read a couple chapters before bed, or when you only have a couple minutes.
And, of course, the message is timeless and at the heart of all that is body positivity: Celebrate the skin you are in.
What story of your life would make the perfect addition to a Chicken Soup for the Soul book? Comment below!