Rosie Smith is the owner of a non-profit radical bookshop in Canton in Cardiff, just a couple of miles from where I live.
Now 32, she grew up just outside Cardiff with her mum and sister. Leaving school at 16 due to anxiety, eating disorders and mental health issues, she found her people in music, joining bands and doing various different jobs until she decided to open the bookshop in 2019, after quitting her 27th job.
Rosie’s wonderful shop, Shelf Life, works with independent publishers to stock a range of fiction and nonfiction books centering neurodiversity, disability and mental health, anti-racism, anti-capitalism, LGBT+, feminism and gender. It’s a little beacon of hope and diversity on the corner of Cowbridge Road East.
Rosie was diagnosed autistic in March last year, and says that diagnosis has helped put her lifelong anxiety, panic attacks and depression into a new perspective, and and building relationships with autistic people has been life-affirming.
We talk about:
➡ Some of the challenges Rosie experienced growing up and trying to find her place in the world.
➡ Navigating the challenges of employment as an undiagnosed autistic employee
➡ Her wonderfully serendipitous path to owning her own bookshop – and the pros and cons of being an autistic business owner
➡ The joys of finding community, knowing herself better, and finding a sense of purpose
Squarepeg is a podcast in which neurodivergent women, and trans and nonbinary people, explore navigating a neurotypical world and share their insights, challenges and successes.
I hope that these conversations will be inspiring and thought provoking, open you up to new ways of thinking about being neurodivergent, and help you feel more connected to a worldwide community of people with similar experiences.
I’m Amy Richards, and after being diagnosed autistic at the age of 37 I’m now on a mission to learn more about different perspectives and issues around being a neurodivergent adult in a world that feels like it doesn’t quite fit.
If you’d like to connect or get in touch with Squarepeg, you can find me on:
Or on my website: https://squarepeg.community/
THANK YOU TO MY PATRONS!
A HUGE thank you to my amazing patrons, who support my work on the podcast:
Abi Hunter, Adam Klager, Amy Adler, Amy-Beth Mellor, Anika Lacerte, Annette, Becky Beasley, Ben Davies, Caroline, Cat Preston, Catrin Green, Cindy Bailey, Clare Forrest, Clare Holmes, Corinne Cariad, Dana Bradley, Danielle Warby, Dennis McNulty, Elizabeth Williams, Erica Kenworthy, Erin Pineapple, Ewan McNeill, Fiona Connor, Galina, Gwyneth, Hannah Breslin, Jackie Allen, JF, Jayne Hutchinson, Jeff Goldman, Jen Bartlett, Julie, Katarzyna Tomaszewska, Kate and Kathryn, Kate Faust, Katharine Richards, Katherine Lynch, Kenneth Knowles, Laura, Laurencia Saenz Benavides, Lea Li, Leo Ricketts, Lilli Simmons, Linda Brown, Liz, LQ, Lyb, Mandy Allen, Marjory Webber, Martine, Melissa Shaw, Meredith L. Freyre, MN, Paul Harris, Pete Burke, Rebecca Biegel, Rebecca Kemp, Sadie Slater, Sarah Cottrell, Sarah Jeffery, Sarah Ivinson, Sarah Swanton, Shauna Schramke, Suzanna Chen, Suzanne, Talia’s Nature, Tammie Fabien, Tamsen Staniford, Tegan Bailey, Tessa Valyou, Tree Hall, Vic Wiener, Vicki Temple, Victoria Chang, Victoria Routledge, Zephyrine Craster and Zoe Lee.
If you’re enjoying the Squarepeg podcast and would like to help me carry on making new episodes, you can become a member of the Squarepeg community on Patreon from £3 per month: https://www.patreon.com/squarepegpodcast