Can you suggest some kick-ass female career/life role models for this social-sciences loving, radical left-leaning, and possibly autistic, woman? I need to read about other people who have been successful in the areas I've struggled in. Not Temple Grandin, please. Many snowflakes inside.
I had a childhood diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome, and got a lot of early interventions--occupational therapy, physical therapy, resource room pull-outs. All of this ended after fourth grade or so; after that point my diagnosis was officially taken off my records. I got all the way through high school and college in honors classes, with solid grades and small-but-close circles of friends the whole time.
My first job after college 3 years ago kicked my ass. My boss accused me of not showing sufficient empathy for a co-worker, told me I was actually smiling at her as she was describing hardships in her life. Once, after I went on an errand with another co-worker to pick up condoms at the city health department, she asked me later how I thought the visit went. I said "fine," and she said "actually, co-worker told me that your body language was really weird and the health department worker didn't take you seriously." She went on to say that there was clearly something wrong with my perceptions if I thought that the visit had gone okay/uneventfully.
After a few months like this, that boss effectively forced me to go to therapy as a condition of staying at the office. She asked me, point blank, whether I had any mental health diagnoses, and told me that I almost wasn't hired because the woman who interviewed me perceived that I had "some kind of problem." It was at this point that I actually learned what my childhood diagnosis was--I knew I'd had interventions as a kid, but not exactly why. When I told my boss that I no longer have the diagnosis, she said "eh, it was the 80's, lots of parents wanted those labels removed so their kids would be seen as normal." I've since looked up the literature and seen that it is in fact possible to get those diagnostic labels removed, but I had no clue then.
I quit that job, and I've had trouble keeping work since. My last long-term boss, at a retail job, laid me off in part because of problems communicating with her. At this point I'm so self-conscious about my body language and my ability to read non-verbal social cues that I'm terrified of asking authority figures for help; I'm afraid that they'll chastise me for not picking up things that a "normal" person would figure out. I'm already in regular talk therapy for this, but I can't afford the neuropsych evals I'd need to verify or not verify the Aspergers, and frankly I'm not sure if I want to know. I just read autism blogs/books sometimes because I see some of myself in them.
I desperately want to be a nurse, but I'm afraid of being called out on the same old points about my body language, my fidgeting, how I show empathy. (It infuriates me when people accuse me of having no empathy-I feel, believe me I do, but maybe my facial expressions don't indicate that?)
Are there any good examples out there of autistic women who are successful in "helping professions" and/or involved in far-left activism? Blog articles, newspaper articles, books, anything? Something to counter this old nytimes article
, which frankly scares the shit out of me in its talking about life outcomes for women? A lot of the writing that's out there about autism/asperger's seems to be written by men in tech/engineering fields who struggle with verbal/writing skills and sometimes have a bit of a libertarian bent. I'm a very verbal, radical/anarchist-inclined woman with no tech aptitude whatsoever. I'm also really not into "autistic pride" as a thing for me; if it makes other people feel empowered that's great, but my more stereotypically autistic traits cause me a lot of distress, and I don't like feeling pressured to embrace them.
Temple Grandin is the typical person who gets trotted out in this situation, but I find her stuff alienating too; I don't "think in pictures" at all, words come naturally to me, I would never dream of describing socializing as "boring".
I know better than to assume I'm a complete and total snowflake in this regard. Who can I read to confirm that I'm not alone?
Throwaway e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org