because none of us is fucking up like we think we are, is what i'm trying to say

That time I was naked in a field and posted the photos on the Internet (NSFW, obvs)

Superlatively Rude

On Sunday afternoon I wondered what, exactly, the repercussions of public nudity might be. I stood in a field of yellow rape seed, bared shoulders shrouded by a floor-length kimono that was a gift from my father to Mama Janie about twenty years ago, after a business trip to Japan. He was always going to Japan on business, my dad. I was *almost* ready to drop it -- but, I think you can get arrested for public indecency, can’t you? I wondered what I would do if I happened across an unclothed twenty-seven year old in the bushes. I don’t know if I’d laugh, or cry.

I loosened the fabric around my shoulders and listened to the voice behind the camera.

‘Okay then,’ she said. ‘And now let it fall a little to reveal your sides. Yup – just like that. Perfect. And a little more…?’

I shuddered against the cold and let the gown disappear towards the soil. And just like that I was naked in the Cambridge countryside, nothing but a sultry gaze and an icy breeze adorning my frame.

Superlatively Rude

Project #strongandsexy took me to a whole new level of brave this weekend. Did I cross the finish line to my first ever 10k, hot and sweaty and panting and fucking USING MY BODY in a way that made me feel POWERFUL and ACCOMPLISHED? Yes, I motherlovin’ did. I was 250th out of 259 entrants, but finishing almost last beats the me of three months ago. She wouldn’t have even tried. I celebrated with a cupcake and half a whoopie pie, and then got a headache because my body didn’t like that much sugar after weeks of sugar-free living. How the times have changed: the me of three months ago, the one definitely not running ten kilometres of a Saturday morning – she could down three cupcakes AND wash it down with a bar of Dairy Milk, and would probably ask for more. Now I’m looking towards my next race, in May, and about 96.3% sure I’m signing up for a September half-marathon.

The strong bit I have down pat. The sexy bit, though? Well. That’s a long untapped part of my psyche that has accumulated a few cobwebs.

When I decided to schedule a body confidence photo shoot the same weekend as my race (I’m dead poetic like that) there was only one photographer that I wanted to work with: Alexandra Cameron.

I know Alex through book club, kinda – she’s the sister of the one I’d sneak outside to smoke with, and after I released I’m Fat (And Still Get Laid) she wrote me an email that sparked the kind of dialogue that stays with you. She got it, man. The heartbreak bit. The hurting bit. The healing bit. She knew what it was to go on an emotional journey designed to either kill you or make you grow wings, and to mark this new adventure of mine I knew she’d capture me exactly how I needed. I knew she’d understand this, too. I’d never met her, but I trusted her with my truth.

I didn’t want feather boas and stilettos. That isn’t me. No lipsticks and push-ups. Project #strongandsexy is a celebration of my body, of what it has provided me with now that I have educated myself on looking after it right. The friendship we have. I wanted to be photographed as naturally as possible. A glimpse at Alex’s portfolio confirmed my hunch: she’d know exactly how to celebrate in the way I needed. Curves. Womanhood. Vulnerability. What was most important to me was honesty.

Superlatively Rude
Superlatively RudeSuperlatively Rude

Working with her was therapy. I spent the whole time thinking to myself, You did it. You said you were going to change your whole lifestyle, and you committed and saw it through and now you get to be beautiful. When Alex showed me the first snaps my jaw dropped. ‘You’ve made me look…’ I said, but she interrupted me: ‘That’s all you,’ she smiled.

Superlatively Rude
Superlatively Rude
Superlatively Rude

She thanked me, at the end of our day, saying, ‘It’s so nice to work with somebody who wants to make art, not just look hot. Not that you don’t look hot, of course. It’s just… you really gave me something to work with. You used your body as a canvass.’

And I know that she wasn’t just blowing smoke up my ass, when she said that. My body *is* art – a goddamn masterpiece, actually. Project #strongandsexy has forced me – sometimes kicking and screaming, because anything worth doing will drive you to the brink of insanity – to confront the ways I keep myself small, limit my potential, hide the best parts of myself, and, about a hundred runs and one law-breaking flash of my nipples in a field later, I’ve reached my objective. I feel both of those things, now, and I don’t intend to lose them.

My name is Laura Jane Williams and I am strong, and I am sexy, and I OWN IT.

Superlatively Rude

If you want to experience the heavenly artistic eye that is Alexandra Cameron Photography by having your own shoot (you don't have to be naked -- though I totally encourage every woman to try it once!) then Alex has very kindly offered a massive 25% discount to my readers. THANKS, ALEX! All you have to do is quote "Superlatively Rude" when you email her. Contact details found here. Sessions start from less than £100.

Follow her gorgeous shots on Facebook and Instagram. I promise that a daily dose of her images makes you want to dream brighter and live harder. She's unbelievably talented. I want to be just like her when I grow up.


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