COMING SOON: My Autistic Fight Song – Rosie Weldon
Winning memoir recounts one woman’s struggle with autism and disability
Rosie Weldon’s My Autistic Fight Song is a powerful, fighting account of one woman’s battle to understand and come to terms with autism even when it threatens to overturn her career and sanity.
Rosie’s inspiring memoir, due out on the 1st April, 2020, follows the author’s difficult journey into adulthood and an autism diagnosis at 25 years old. In her opening chapter, Rosie recalls being labelled ‘gifted and talented’ at school but struggling through college and university. With painful honesty, Rosie remembers entering the ‘real’ world of professional accountancy but, at the time, wondering “why can’t she cope like everyone else?”.
Lifting the lid on labels in society, My Autistic Fight Song is written by an author completely in tune with the many challenges faced by an often-misunderstood condition. Rosie’s memoir is an intense, well-documented and dramatic account of the setbacks and challenges that autism, then disability, throws at her. With the odds stacked against her, Rosie refuses to give up on her dream career even when she loses her mobility.
My Autistic Fight Song shines a light on coping with her condition and overcoming adversity. It is a searing account of Rosie’s personal fight and, at times, treads carefully over difficult topics, such as mental illness and self-harm. And, despite dark times, there is love and laughter, hope and beauty running through this uplifting story. When life throws everything at her, Rosie comes out stronger and is the real winner.
As Rosie admits, this is her personal ‘fight song’ and, rather than being “destined to fail in the real world”, her message is a positive one. Rosie begins to thrive, both in her work and health, revealing she is “no longer a square peg in a round hole, she doesn’t need to force herself to be anything other than who she is…”.
This informative memoir is much more than a memoir; it is an essential read for anyone struggling with mental illness, autism or a disability and for everyone working hard to win their personal battles.
Advanced reader copies of this highly-anticipated memoir are available to order today.
Advance Review Copies are available upon request from us, here.
Excerpt from Chapter One – Knee Deep
I had screwed everything up.
That was the thought going around and round in my head. I had turned my back on college and dropped out. So much for being ‘gifted and talented’ as I was labelled in high school. What good did any of my academic success do when I couldn’t even turn up to school each day?
I looked up to see the career guidance counsellor, staring at me. I was sitting at the table in the middle of the kitchen. It was the biggest kitchen we had ever had, with posh worktops extending along one side and a tall fridge at the end. The counsellor sat opposite me, luckily the table was 6ft long and put some distance between us. Though, it wasn’t enough to miss that her eyes were full of pity. Great, I was the college drop out.
‘Hmm?’ I stalled as I tried to think of anything worthwhile to say. I looked over to Mum who was stood facing me from the kitchen window. ‘I need to think it through.’
That night I sat at the family computer. We had just about moved on from the PC in the cupboard and it now had a permanent desk. I loaded up MSN Messenger to talk to one of my closest friends, Lucy. I didn’t need time to think it through. I knew I couldn’t do any of the options I was being given: various courses, work experience or jobs that were supposed to help me get back on track.
I barely scraped through my GCSEs; things got harder near the end. I studied relentlessly from home to make up for the time I missed in class. I managed to come out with pretty decent grades. I then went back to the same school, with an attached college, to get my A-levels. It was so much harder than high school, gone were the days of routine and structure. Instead, I was in classrooms with no seating plans and there were now free periods for socialising. It all got too much and I had to bail out.
Education had always given me a plan, GCSEs, then A-levels and then university. Deciding to leave college had taken me off that path. I had no plan. Education was the one thing I was good at. What on earth had I thought, turning away from it?
Why don’t you come back? I stared at the words Lucy had sent. Go back? My heart started to race. Was that possible? Could I go back? It had been six weeks since I left.
I rallied Mum for the cause and the next morning we set off to a meeting with the head of the college. Our mission was clear: to get me accepted back into college.
We walked through the bottom gate, past the caretaker’s house on the left, and towards the college block. I looked over to the track that ran behind it. On our first free period Tash and I had walked down that track to go to the leisure centre to get snacks from the vending machine. She stood in a puddle and almost hit the deck as the water went right up to her knee. It was far deeper than she had anticipated. I laughed out loud at the memory. Mum turned to give me a stiff ‘this isn’t the time to laugh’ look.
I coughed. No, of course it wasn’t.
My grin quickly fell when we reached the double doors. We walked up the stairs and turned right, into his little stamp-size office. You would think for the head of the college he would have had a bigger office. Mum purposefully sat on the first chair rather promptly, leaving me the seat next to the head. Thanks then, Mum. I may as well have been sat on his lap.
We sat there as he went on and on about how six weeks was a lot to miss, if I couldn’t cope before how would I cope now? Well that was it. He wasn’t going to let me back. I sat and stared at the floor, there was nothing I could do now.
Then Mum’s eyes lit up with fierce determination.
‘Look, I know she has missed a lot,’ she said. ‘But she had time off at the end of her GCSEs and she did great in those! You just need to give her a chance to prove herself. She will work hard to catch up, I know she will. Please just give her a chance.’
I looked over at Mum. Wow. She really believed in me, huh? She smiled at me and then turned back to the head, with the same look of determination as before. He sat back in his chair and looked at me.
Mum’s belief gave me the strength to finally find my voice. ‘I promise I’ll catch up, sir. I will work hard.’
He looked at me with a furrowed brow and said, ‘Okay, one chance.’
One chance was all I needed.
The next few months were as hard as the head of the college had warned. I fought to not only keep up with the current workload but work back and cover the six weeks I had missed. I knew I had doubters. I knew there were whispers behind my back that I would never pass the exams.
On my first day back, I was sitting in psychology when Mrs Finch approached me, her perfect grey bob bouncing.
‘Rosie, you can go with Alex and Katie. Just watch and make notes on their presentation. Apparently, the world makes exceptions for you.’ Mrs Finch quite literally looked down her nose at me. ‘Good luck getting them in the real world.’
She didn’t think I would make anything of myself outside of school. The ‘gifted and talented’ kid who was destined to fail in the ‘real world’. What she didn’t realise was smug smiles and shitty comments from people like her, was what fuelled me to prove them wrong.
About the Author
Rosie Weldon is a full-time accountant based in the North West of England. Outside of accounting – and her various academic commitments – Rosie also advocates for autism and other neurodiversities. Rosie has written for the UK’s leading charity, the National Autistic Society, and the acclaimed mental health magazine, Happiful. She strives to help others understand autism by sharing her own life experiences through social media, her blog and various content posts at www.rosieweldon.com.
National Autistic Society
Autism is a lifelong disability which affects how people communicate and interact with the world. There are approximately 700,000 autistic adults and children in the UK. www.autism.org.uk