Books, Uncategorized, Writing

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Poe’s voice is confident, moving and often funny, as she reveals to us a very personal account of autism, mental illness, gender and sexual identity.

As we follow Charlotte’s journey through school and college, we become as awestruck by her extraordinary passion for life as by the enormous privations that she must undergo to live it. From food and fandom, to body modification and comic conventions, Charlotte’s experiences through the torments of schooldays and young adulthood leave us with a riot of conflicting emotions: horror, empathy, despair, laugh-out-loud amusement and, most of all, respect. For Charlotte, autism is a fundamental aspect of her identity and art. She addresses her reader in a voice that is direct, sharply clever and ironic. She witnesses her own behaviour with a wry humour as she sympathises with those who care for her, yet all the while challenging the neurotypical narratives of autism as something to be ‘fixed’.

‘I wanted to show the side of autism that you don’t find in books and on Facebook. My story is about survival, fear and, finally, hope. There will be parts that make you want to cover your eyes, but I beg you to read on, because if I can change just one person’s perceptions, if I can help one person with autism feel like they’re less alone, then this will all be worth it.’

Punctuated by her poetry, this is an exuberant, inspiring, life-changing insight into autism from a viewpoint almost entirely missing from public discussion.

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/How-Autistic-Charlotte-Amelia-Poe/dp/1912408325/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=how+to+be+autistic&qid=1555582434&s=gateway&sr=8-1

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/How-Autistic-Charlotte-Amelia-Poe/dp/1912408325/ref=sr_1_fkmrnull_1?keywords=how+to+be+autistic+charlotte+amelia+poe&qid=1555582817&s=gateway&sr=8-1-fkmrnull

Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/how-to-be-autistic/charlotte-amelia-poe/9781912408320

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/how-to-be-autistic-charlotte-amelia-poe/1130419987?ean=9781912408320

Myriad Editions (publisher): https://myriadeditions.com/books/how-to-be-autistic/

Poetry, Uncategorized, Writing

I haven’t felt safe in over twenty years

That feels strange to admit

There’s a casual acceptance to a lifetime of fears

“Oh, come on, get over it.”

Like,

Maybe I don’t want this but I don’t know the alternative

Like I’ve been blinkered and I can only see straight ahead

It tells me this is the only way to live

“Stay home, stay safe, stay in bed.”

Traitorous to the last I tell myself it’s better

To live a life that’s infinitely lesser

Because I can’t breathe and I want to go home

But what is a home if you still feel alone?

Poetry, Uncategorized, Writing

I’ve known you all my life

Grown used to the way your skin ripples and twists

How your face looks just like mine

Your claws digging into my throat as you hold me a little too tightly

The way you rub my back as I bend over and spill my guts

Telling me, well, what would be worse?

To survive this or to die?

Until it is easier to not, to not want things, to not want to try

You took and you stole and you filled me with chemicals

And like, people say you should let go of things that hurt you

But darling, what am I without you?

Who could I be?

Poetry, Uncategorized, Writing

I keep the blinds closed

And don’t look outside

What’s the weather doing?

Is it warm where you are?

 

The fields feel oppressive

They stretch and yawn towards the horizon

I wish for people and pavements and pieces of conversation

And rain dripping from awnings onto concrete.

 

(If I built this prison then why don’t I have a copy of the key?)

 

I thread my hands through the bars

Reaching for the touch of skin on skin

Stretching fingers brushing thin air

I keep the blinds closed

Is it warm where you are?

Poetry, Uncategorized, Writing

They say it’ll eat you up inside –

That it’s not therapist advised –

But the therapists don’t email back –

And my promise is already charcoal black.

 

So leave me my spite –

Let me keep living in spite –

Because what happened when I was young (and when I first realised the war was far from won)

 

Drives drives drives me onwards –

Teaches me how to disobey orders –

Tells me that to die is to die (and that if you don’t laugh you might as well cry)

 

No new beginnings and no fresh starts –

But the smallest resilience from broken hearts –

To deny what made me?

Too clean, too easy (let me bleed let me curse let me drown in it).

Poetry, Writing

how do you explain anxiety to someone?
is it the hitch in your breathing and then
the tightness in your chest
as you try to catch yourself
and remind yourself that you’re still standing
but your legs want to fold
and your brain is telling you that it’s not safe
and you haven’t been safe for a long time now
you can’t remember what it felt like not to feel the gnaw
and you can’t remember when it switched from
wanting not to cause a scene
to wanting to cause a scene
because if you collapse you get to leave
people will notice and care and treat you like spun sugar
but when you make your legs stride and your lungs burn
nobody is going to help you
and you’d cry if you had the air to do so
but instead you keep walking
and in that moment
you’d face a firing squad
because a bullet to the brain
is easier than meeting the eyes of a stranger