I was diagnosed with ASD (old school Asperger’s) at the ripe old age of forty-three after winning the Goldsboro Glass Bell Award. I used the prize money to pay for a private diagnosis. I’d suspected for years and its done wonders for my confidence which has always been a struggle (it will when you are constantly told the way you think is wrong). Turns out my perception isn’t ‘wrong’ just different, and I wouldn’t want to be any other way.
There are two robins who come to be fed outside my kitchen door several times a day. One disappeared and then returned almost exactly a year later. He is the boldest and will find where I am in the house and hustle me from the other side of the window.
Dogs are earth angels I’m sure of it. I have a black Labrador called Jose, he is five years old and I’m very guilty of spoiling him and he can be a bit of a wuss.
At thirty-seven years old I did a master’s degree and everyone thought I was nuts. Why would I want to do that? I’d take endless degrees if I could. I love learning and researching. I enjoy having my opinions challenged and seeking new experiences or knowledge that changes my mind.
As a child I wanted to be a ballet dancer and my teacher had me try out for the Royal Ballet School in secret (I was already being picked on and she thought this would make it worse) but it wasn’t to be. She wanted my parents to pursue other schools and scholarships but my parents were very stuck in their working class limitations and weren’t convinced. I was crushed when I had to accept it wasn’t going to happen.
In 2016, I was also diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease, that means I have hypothyroidism. It took 12 years of endless symptoms and declining health – physical and mental – to get a diagnosis. I was told I wasn’t ‘fat enough’ and ended up having quite a heated debate with the GP who agreed to test me but said she was convinced I didn’t have it. Yep – I was right again!
While writing this book, I found out my grandfather wasn’t my biological grandfather. It turned out my grandmother had a long affair with a Canadian army solider stationed in Surrey. She was already married to my grandfather who was away at war so she couldn’t pass my dad off as his. My dad was meant to be adopted but somehow, she got my official grandfather to adopt. It blows my mind families keep such huge secrets –a creepy coincidence as family secrets and lies are a big theme in my book!
The Gone and the Forgotten by Clare Whitfield, published by Apollo Fiction [Head of Zeus], is out now.
Post source: Female First