The Blue World of LinkedIn: A Neurodivergent Individual’s View

(Please note, I cannot get to comments on this blog, at this time.)
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The Blue World of LinkedIn
A jumbly prose by Samantha Craft, 9.2020
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It’s all jumbly when I jump online and go to the blue place.***
I think about ‘my autism’—I mean being autistic.*
And how there are days LinkedIn seems a cold, frigid place.
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How my very nature makes me a bit on guard. Questioning human-made constructs of rights and wrongs. Longing for the steadfast, century-enduring truths; an existentialistic outlook of life.
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The rest—whatever is the latest trend or want or need or social norm—typically slips. And I fall with it.
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Me, as the layered observer, watching and watching. Until, smack, a reminder of where I stand.
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Me, a wader-type creature, casually dipping my weight into the unfamiliar waters, only to find myself shivering back to shore.*
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My vocational works and volunteerism—smudged like aqua-blue paint merged into white.
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And so I log in, with a bright, painfully-orange Post-It note stuck to my MacBook Pro camera eye, whilst hunched over on my bed in two-day old pajamas. Acting like a professional.*
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Acting. Acting. Masking. Masking.
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Otherwise, I’d be rambling on about my Egyptian-born grandmother or how once I dated this guy . . .
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There is a definite lack of transparency and authenticity.
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I have to be careful, here, in professional land. I can’t exactly say when I’m having a bad day, or need a hug, or don’t give a crap about something—it’s not the place.
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A list of 1000 rules flutter by, sprout wings.*
Not the venue to post an onslaught of poetry, art, comic strips, or clumsy, fuzzy, cats; unless I can link it to a valuable lesson or story related to the workplace.
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A list of my coexisting traits—all 10 of them—was risky enough. I could tell, some didn’t know what to think of me or that list. I could hear: Poor lady. Maybe save that for Facebook.
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I’m here to impress? Is that it? No? Perhaps to share, connect, and support (in a professional manner about professional things). Yes.
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Proceed with caution, when another person writes a personal note in a thread; sad stuff, like the death of a brother, or the suffering they’ve endured; it’s not the place to get too personal in those threads. No hearts. Not too many hugs.
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Maintain a professional distance.*
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Step back and steer clear of voicing the touchy topics of politics and religion; especially in today’s political climate. Texas, oil-loving, anti-liberal, enraged at black-lives-matter movement.
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Better to just not be near that.*
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Back step. Noticing the quirky photos of people are more often appreciated than sexy poses. Sexy isn’t as hot as it used to be. Different and unusual is better. Not like when I was a kid and teased for my male-sounding name, while they mimicked the-pantomiming-Marcel-Marsoe.*
Laughter from afar.
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Observing my ‘news’ feed. Does she know zooming in from the top, with a camera phone, is not a good look? Trying to show a bit of cleavage and talk sexy? Is she a relator? Does she know that is a taboo here? Poor thing. Sigh. I imagine it would be the same if some guy was zooming in on his tight Speedos—but that doesn’t seem to happen here.
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The dos and…. don’t!
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But no one really talks about them. And you can’t really tell by likes, or hearts, or thumbs ups, or claps, what is appropriate—socially acceptable. The ones with large amounts of followers get likes no matter what, unless they make a huge error. Then, ouch!
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Time passes in the blue.
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I wonder how much time is enough and what else I might be doing.
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Remind myself that what I am viewing on my screen, no one else is seeing. In reality, my connection list is different. Funny, how I forget and think we are all together in this.*
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We aren’t.*
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I wonder if I should be searching for chocolate recipes.*
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Someone might be walking right now as they message me. They might even be squatting on the toilet or painting a big toe the color purple.
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A blast of family drama! I’m pretty sure that’s a no-no in this place. Tisk. Tisk.*
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But no one really talks about that.*
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Except every once in a while, a loud announcement; loud in the way it hurts, despite no capital letter. An expert of the unspoken rules. What exactly qualifies him to speak for the masses?*
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Oh, look, a nun! Connecting, now. Press blue rectangle box. I am so random. An anomaly.
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Edit profile.*
What I really want to type: Scared Neurotic Genius.
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Why is it that it’s okay to share what is perceived as shortcomings and deficits, such as being depressed or manic? Anything that provokes sympathy and less-than. But to say I’m diagnosed with gifted-intellect is seen as bragging? It’s all the same brain and same spectrum. So many boxes and labels. Human scales make little to no sense. Nonsense.*
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Next thought: What happens when you fumble on LinkedIn?
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Screenshot, shared mistake to the masses, permanent, non-inked, forever words.
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Why isn’t anyone else terrified of this place? One misstep. To be highlighted in the broad, bright pink ink of discovery.
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Fragile, vulnerable human beings playing dress up, subjected to the oddities of this neurodivergent gal. I’d wager they aren’t pressing on like and love and clap symbols as a means of stimming from their anxiety. A player in a moving pattern of continual motion to calm the monster of chaos inside. I think as much.
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And, think.
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Don’t let them see you so complex. Blend in. Pretend. You’re good at that.
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Exhaustion. Wondering if I got it right, in the make-believe land of no land. People without faces.
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Color inside the lines. Watch and learn how the others do it. Social norms—a fluster fu**!
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A multi-layered, complexity of rigidness. A formulated must-act-this-way; a way that doesn’t really exist, except in the idea of normalcy. Don’t they see that?
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Comes the sting.
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. . . The epiphany of societal expectations sprawled open like a burlesque dancer in a provocative prose. A mirrored image. As above so below. As to the right, so to the left. The virtual me, in a virtual world.
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My foibles, noted. Comes the dyslexia. The misspelled word.
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Some stranger with a salt-and-peppered beard profile hoping for synergy.
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This isn’t the place for that type of connection.
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Here in the (Linked)In-Crowd. I know that much, for certain.
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It’s all jumbly when I jump online and go to the blue place.

Like this article. Check out more on this blog. Connect with Marcelle Ciampi on Linkedin or Samantha Craft on Twitter or myspectrumsuite.com.

Samantha Craft’s Autistics Traits List

Bio:  Marcelle Ciampi, M.Ed. (aka Samantha Craft)

Marcelle Ciampi (aka Samatha Craft) is a respected autistic author and community advocate, is best known for her writings found in the well-received book Everyday Aspergers. A professional educator, she has been featured in various literature, including peer-reviewed journals, Autism Parenting Magazine, The Mighty, Project Aspie, Art of Autism, and Different Brains. Marcelle works as the Recruitment Manager and Outreach Specialist at Ultranauts Inc., an engineering firm with a neurodiversity-hiring initiative, and is a consultant for Uptimize and Spectrum Fusion. A contributing author of Spectrum Women: Walking to the Beat of Autism, Marcelle speaks globally on the topic of neurodiversity. She also serves as the founder of Spectrum Suite LLC, the co-founder of the Spectrum Lights Inclusion Summit, co-executive of LifeGuides for Autistics (neuroguides.org), and a contributor and advisor to autism organizations and conferences internationally. Some of her works, especially The Ten Traits, have been translated into multiple languages and been shared in counseling offices around the world. She resides in the Pacific Northwest U.S.A. with her sons and life partner.

“Everyday Aspergers is an unusual and powerful exploration of one woman’s marvelously lived life. Reminiscent of the best of Anne Lamott, Everyday Aspergers jumps back and forth in time through a series of interlocking vignettes that give insight and context to her lived experience as an autistic woman. The humor and light touch is disarming, because underneath light observations and quirky moments are buried deep truths about the human experience and about her own work as an autistic woman discerning how to live her best life. From learning how to make eye contact to finding ways to communicate her needs to being a dyslexic cheerleader and a fraught mother of also-autistic son, Samantha Craft gives us a marvelous spectrum of experiences. Highly recommended for everyone to read — especially those who love people who are just a little different.”

~ Ned Hayes, bestselling author of The Eagle Tree

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