[100] S8 E8: A sense of purpose: finding our own path and place in the world as autistic adults
Topics in this episode: autism at work, community, employment, friendships, mental health, self employment

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.





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