Sunday, 29 December 2013

Asperger traits at work

The employment biography provides a long list of Asperger traits, and the reader (in this case, me) has to check each trait that was expressed during the three selected jobs.

My list is long, and almost identical for the three jobs. I should say, though, that a lot of these items were not fully disclosed during these jobs, as I have always made an effort to fit in. The items may also not have been very strong, but I've felt them.

In my first job, I
- bit my nails
- had trouble with eye contact, team work, criticism
- had less than optimal relation to authority figures and aversion towards authority
- wasn't very assertive
- had trouble asking for help
- was conscious of detail
- got stressed when trying to multitask
- had low motivation for tasks outside my own interest
- avoided small talk
- was punctual and conscious about completing my tasks
- conversed in a stiff and pedantic manner
- had poor understanding of reciprocity in conversation
- was poor at understanding body language and jokes
- preferred visual learning and learning step-by-step
- asked a lot of questions, but didn't know who I should ask
- had few strong interests
- had good long term memory
- applied black and white thinking
- had difficulty understanding others' thinking, in particular when they were different from mine
- however I THOUGHT I could read their minds....
- misunderstood what others said
- had difficulty understanding social rules
- was rigid about rules
- was tactlessly honest
- lived in my own world and was a bit of a loner
- was shy
- had problems greeting
- was outraged about unfairness
- had trouble finding an using a social 'mask'
- had problems with confidence in others
- was a bit paranoid
- looped over bad experiences

I my second selected job, a few sensory issues were added to the list. There were problems about the food my co-workers ate (not their lunch but their snacking/drinking habits), and something about smells. I also felt that my personal space was violated, when a particular person stood very close to me. I had a strong reaction to these sensory issues.

I was no longer shy, although I had some performance anxiety in the social field. I had become more assertive, however I added 'difficulty in seeing problems clearly' and 'extreme reaction to not being able to solve problems' to the list. I also added problems with being interrupted to the list.

In my last job on the list (last day tomorrow, yay!), noise sensitivity was added to the list. And some stress/depression symptoms, concentration problems, insomnia, depression. And what probably was central for said symptoms: Problems accommodating to change. That horrible merger...

I can see, that a number of new Asperger traits appear under this last job. I think this is due to me having taken all these tests and becoming more conscious of being aspie. Hence I define myself differently, taking a sort of pride in being different instead of just trying to fit in. Examples of these traits are: weird sense of humour, talking too much of my own things, discomfort about 'playing games' - political or otherwise.

Skills and talents

The fourth chapter of my employment biography is a positive one. In this exercise, I had to list my interests, skills and talents, and then state whether I used these in the three listed jobs.

My skills and talents (and this list represents my work-related interests as well - they overlap) are - in order of importance:

Statistical software programming
Data and registers
Perspective (overview) and structure
Communication of statistics/reporting of results
Other computer software (Excel mostly)
Being a shop steward and similar political work - representing my co-workers

Except for teaching, which I did in several other jobs, I employed these skills and talents in all my selected jobs.

In the next chapter, which I hope to summarise soon, I had to list those Asperger traits that presented themselves during my three selected jobs. That list is long...

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Intelligence and learning styles

The third chapter of the employment biography is about learning styles. But it is also about intelligences. The book lists the eight different intelligences, and the reader is asked to relate to these:
1. The logical/mathematical intelligence - this is where I am quite strong. I work with data, numbers, statistics, and I am quite good at it.
2. The interpersonal/social intelligence - if it involves me, I am rather poor in this field.
3. Kinesthetic intelligence/gut feeling. I do have gut feeling, but I think it is biased. I think my own anxiety towards certain situations pollute my gut feeling.
4. The musical/rhytmic intelligence. No. Not me...
5. The intrapersonal/analytical intelligence - this one is my strongest. I am very good at analysis, both within my field of work, but also of relations, situations etc., unless of course they involve myself, cf. above. The author of the employment workbook entitles this intelligence 'introvert', and states that people that are strong in this field don't work well in teams (that would be me, too).
6. The linguistic/verbal intelligence. If the analytical intelligence is my best and the mathematical my second best, this would be my number three. I am rather good at putting my thoughts into words, preferably written words. That said, I am often told that I use very few words. I provide information on a strict need-to-know basis.
7. The visual/spatial intelligence. I think this must be my number four, I am visually oriented, and I am better at finding my way than the prejudice against my gender dictates I would be. I look at a map, transform it into 3D inside my head and find my way, almost every time. Unless of course I am given oral instructions such as 'at the gas station, go left, and immediately after, go right'. These things are impossible for me to transform into 3D, and I get lost, because I can't visualise it. The visual intelligence is also about thinking in images. And I don't do that often. In particular, I am not very fond of metaphors. I rarely use them myself, and I get very irritated when others (over)use metaphors.
8. The natural intelligence - I wrote: 'something about animals and plants' in my notebook. Well, no. I like cats and dogs etc., but I am not particularly interested in animals, and don't consider myself intelligent in this natural sense. Even less for plants. I don't own potted plants (because we have a cat...) and plants are only interesting for eating.

As for learning styles, I have established long ago, that I strongly favour the visual learning style. If I need to understand something, I have to read it. I remember pictures much better that things that are told to me. I remember faces but not names. The biography goes a step further than establishing one of four learning styles, though. I had to review the tasks I had in the three jobs and describe how I learned to do these tasks.

Overall, I go about my tasks (including learning them) systematically. I keep a sense of perspective, while still focusing on details. This combination of seeing both the wood and the trees is one of my strongest competences in my job.

I ask for help (a lot) when I need to learn something new, at least if I know whom to ask. However asking for help is not very wise, because the help I get is almost always in the form of oral advise, which I forget within minutes.

I imitate others (another survival strategy) and I am often inspired by others.

It is easy for me to understand computer programmes and written instructions.

In two areas: Teaching and networking, I rely on my gut feeling. My intuition is very good as long as it doesn't involve myself.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

My work-related social skills

As mentioned previously, I have completed the Asperger Syndrome Employment Workbook. The third part of the book (the biography) is divided into chapters. The first chapter contains a variety of facts about the three jobs described, I won't summarize that here, as its main purpose (for me at least) was to refresh my memory.

The second chapter is about social skills. Again, I had to go through the three selected jobs. The first job was my first job out of college, the second was a job I held 14 years ago, and the third is the job I am holding for another 9 days (a.k.a. my current job).

In my first job, almost 20 years ago, I was good at greeting, I was considerate of others, good at helping others and doing favours. I was good at offering thanks and at being honest/frank. My personal appearance was good, and so was my awareness of other's physical space. I was good at staying on a topic, including staying too long on a topic. I knew who to ask for help, and I was able to request change to conditions and procedures. I had a good choice of work associates.

On the other side of things, I was poor at showing respect to my superiors - they found me arrogant. My expression of emotion was poor, and biased towards negative emotions. I also had a poor awareness of how safe people felt around me. I failed everything in the not-so-honest department: social lies, making up stories, factual lies. My humour was poor (except with one co-worker who shared my interests). I had no physical contact with others, poor eye contact and voice level. My choice of words and phrases was poor. I was not good at knowing how and when to ask for help. My response to criticism was poor (and dramatic). I was poor at social conversations and discussion of personal and intimate matters, both during work and during breaks. My attitude fitted poorly in with others and I was poor at socialising both on and off the job. I had poor understanding of the unwritten rules and a poor etiquette of reporting problems.

Note about the social conversations: I managed to have lunch break with my co-workers every day for 14 months and I never uttered a word.

Six years later, in my second selected job, I had improved in showing emotions, my humour was better, my voice level had improved, and so had my ability to know how to ask for help. The most significant improvement was in the field of social conversations at work and during breaks. I did talk to my co-workers! The thing is, I am introvert and I feel insecure at times, but I am not actually shy. In my first job, however, I must have appeared very shy...

My last selected job, my current position, is difficult to describe using the book. Because it was almost two jobs. One before the merger and one after. In the category of asking for help, I found it easy to ask for help before the merger, while it became extremely difficult after. My own skills don't appear to have changed over the 14 years.

The impact of the merger on my ability to know how, when and who to ask for help is important in understanding my social skills, in particular my lack of social skills. It appears that my social skills are much better when I feel secure, when the workplace enables my social skills. When I fail socially, I fail because I am not in an enabling environment. So my social skills are not always poor, their weaknesses are only exposed by dysfunctional environments. This is a very important message to myself, also in my next job.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Labour market issues

I've recently finished 'Asperger Syndrome Employment Workbook' by Roger N Meyer. My husband gave me the book because of some work-related challenges. These challenges have led to (another) job resignation. In January 2014 I'll start on my 9th (or 10th, depending on how you count) job since I finished university almost 20 years ago.

I found the book rather meticulous and I managed to get irritated a number of times about the very detailed instructions given. You have to buy a folder, some different coloured tabs, etc., and you have to organise your desktop in a specific way. The instructions are complete with drawings of the desktop.

I didn't do what the author told me to. Firstly, my 'Employment Workbook' was not a book but a kindle-book, and secondly I read in bed and thus had no desktop to organise. I wrote down all the answers in a notebook I kept next to my kindle. But I answered every question I could. In fact, it worked out just fine without folder, tabs and desktop :)

The main point is that you select three jobs, among these your latest job, and then you very meticulously go through these jobs. You answer questions about the physical environment, working hours, tasks that you did, etc. etc. I found this part annoying but anwered nevertheless. I have a university degree and I have been doing research for at least half of my career. Research is difficult to break into tasks and it felt like a waste of time. But it wasn't. Because recalling all the irrelevant details about my three selected jobs made me recall all the important things as well. The things that went wrong. And because I selected (as I was instructed to do) jobs from the beginning, the middle and the end (so far) of my career, I recalled things from the non-selected jobs in between as well.

Then, being in this state of remembering things that were long forgotten, you start writing small essays summing up learning styles, skills and talents, social skills, etc.

The last chapter sums up everything you've learned in a guide to yourself in future jobs. This part is the best, but can't really be done without doing all the previous chapters. So the book takes quite a while and there's no jumping to conclusions. But in fact, it's worth it.

Some time soon, I will summarise some of the chapters of my employment biography (which is what my notebook now contains) here.

Sunday, 21 July 2013


"NO! - You are not introvert!" My friend exclaimed. As if I'd been telling her I was ugly og stupid. I tried to explain, as calmly as I could, why I thought I was indeed introvert. But she persisted. I definitely wasn't introvert. I gave up.

I've worked with this woman for many years. She is brilliant at keeping contact to friends and colleagues, she's always up-to-date with peoples carriers and personal lives. She is good humoured and pleasant company. She knew me when I was seeing my ex, W - the aspie. And the subject of introversion came up during our lunch together because she asked me about W, if I knew what he was doing now (I don't). We talked about why I'd been with him in the first place, and the topic of his extreme introversion came up. I explained that him being so introvert had caused me to be more extrovert, despite being introvert myself. And that was when I was interrupted. Because this woman, whom I haven't seen for about a year and never been very close with, obviously know me better than I know myself.

Why am I bothered? Well, it is annoying to be interrupted, and to be contradicted on a topic that I should be an expert on (the topic being myself). But, hey, shit happens. What really bothers me is that introversion apparently is so bad. If I'd said: I am actually a brunette, I just dye my hair; or: I think I am gay; or: I voted for the Social Democrats last time, she would just have said: OK (neither of these things are true though). And to me, being introvert is just as fine as being gay, brunette, or social democrat. It is just different from mainstream.

But we live in a world defined by extroverts, which is why people find the introvert behaviour odd. I think the illustration of introverts as someone being (or preferring to be) inside a hamster ball is wonderful. I saw it on facebook, and also found it here: Although I should mention that I've seen hamsters in a wheel but never in a ball or a bubble... The key message, about the difference in how people acquire - and lose - energy. I get energy from being on my own, I lose energy when being with others. I lose much more energy when being at a party, in a noisy cafĂ©, at a reception, and with lots of strangers, compared to being at home with a few close friends. But even if my social life consisted only of few close friends having supper at my house, I would still need the time alone.

From looking at aspies around me, I have developed the hypothesis that not all introverts are aspies, but most aspies are introverts.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Black and white

One thing that always irritated me about my mother was her tendency to see things in black or white. There was no middle way. Most politicians were evil wrong-doers, and the few she liked were like gods and goddesses. The latter could do nothing wrong and she spoke of them with admiration.

The same was true for colleagues, family members, and other acquaintances. She has been able to uphold this simplistic view of life because of her strong belief that she herself is always right. You can't really discuss with her, because she KNOWS she is right.

If she is always right, obviously everyone who may have different views are WRONG. This does not only apply to politics but also to life style choices etc. My best friend still recalls the day (we were teenagers) when she and I sat in the garden and my mother came down the stairs, furious. She held out an empty candy packet, that she had found in the garbage can, and asked, fuming, 'WHAT IS THIS?!?'. My friend and I had shared a small packet of candy while drinking tea. My mother acted as if it was cocaine.

Most of my life I have consciously chosen not to be like my mother. I have wanted to see the grey tones, the middle way, and I have been ready to accept that others may be right, too.

It is still very important to me not to be like my mother. However the amount of issues about which I KNOW I am right, has increased, meanwhile the amount of issues where I acknowledge that others may be as right, has decreased. I have become more black and white.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Please stop being so sensitive!

I overheard these words on the street yesterday. Some American tourists I think, a group of young women visiting Copenhagen, complete with city maps and cameras.

One of the women was walking a few meters away from the others, and she did indeed look a bit sullen. The others ( three or four) walked close together and it was from that group I heard those words being shouted at the sullen one.

Of course I resisted my urge to ask the shouting person: If she knew how to do that, she probably would've done it long ago, don't you think?

In fact that was the reply I should have given when people told me the exact same thing. You can't ask people to stop 'being' what they are. I can't ask my son to be less odd. I can't ask myself to be more relaxed, less sensitive. It is like asking people to take off their hat, only that it isn't. We can wear traits as a hat, if we choose to. And take it off as well. If I am afraid somebody would trespass my boundaries, I'd put on aloofness as a hat. But the aloofness that is inside me is there always, and that I can't take off.

Instead of telling other people that they should stop being what they are, perhaps we should stop judging them by our own standards and instead try and embrace the heterogeneity of people and their personalities.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Theory of Mind

I just googled 'theory of mind'. It appears that autistic people don't develop this or develop it insufficiently. I have no intentions to generalise, but I know what it's like for me.

I used to think - as a kid - that everybody else functioned like myself. I felt deceived if people disagreed with me, and I couldn't understand that their reaction was different from mine.

When I grew older, I realised that everybody else were perfect. I was the only imperfect one. They always knew what to say and what to do, and I didn't. If colleague A says: I am scared of being fired, it is not a sign of weakness, rather it is because exposing weakness is the right thing to do. If family member B talks about a newly deceased and says 'I don't know what to say to the relatives' - then that is the way to react, and the correct amount of sharing. When female friend C complains about her husband, she does so in the right setting and the right amount. Somehow the correct way of sharing/exposing weakness/revealing private information has been implanted in their brains, and they just DO the right thing, without endless considerations of what the right thing is. Those considerations are mine. I am (still) the only imperfect one. But recently I have suggested to myself that others may be as imperfect.

This discovery (too big a word there, 'suggestion' is better) is very difficult to get my head around. When I am in a social situation I still (firmly) believe that all others are perfect. But on my way home on my bicycle, while debriefing myself from the social interactions of the day, it sometimes occur to me that A, B and C perhaps were as insecure - or almost as insecure - of what they should say or do in the social situation as I was.

I appear to have considered other people as some kind of astronomical objects, sticking firmly to their path, which they can see clearly. While I haven't had a path of my own, and I also haven't been able to see theirs. I am the blind spaceship, floating about, sometimes colliding with the stoic planets or crossing their path in an inconvenient way. But most of the time I have been able to fly more or less on someone else's path, safe until I accidentally left it.

Until now I haven't really been interested in what happened inside other people's heads.

The reason for this is:

  • Either that I've been too busy always trying to fit in and haven't had the resources to figure out what was going on in everybody elses heads
  • Or that I am basically too self-absorbed to be interested in what happens inside other people's heads. I am not narcissistic because I clearly see my own flaws, but I find those flaws much more interesting than trying to comprehend the almost incomprehensible.
My discovery - that they may not be so perfect after all - still doesn't give me a clue as to what actually does happen inside their heads. So I am not really closer to that theory of mind...

Saturday, 30 March 2013

The Big Bang Theory

I never watch TV. I get impatient during movies and I prefer to consume news in writing, from paper or web. But I enjoy sitcoms - and I enjoy them more if the characters somehow resemble me. My favourite show is the Big Bang Theory. Because the characters are scientists. And nerds. I like that and I like them. I like the ordinary girl of the show, too, though I don't really recognise myself in her. In fact, Penny is one of the two top stars of that show, but that is not my point.

My first point relates to the other top star of the show. The famous, brilliant and very annoying Dr. Sheldon Cooper. Here and there on the internet people have diagnosed Sheldon with Aspergers. Somebody (I forgot who) suggests that he has other diagnoses as well, or traits at least. Inter alia, his narcissism is far beyond what you'd normally see in an Aspie. More than one person with Asperger have been compared to Sheldon.

I like Sheldon a lot. He is much more quirky than I am, he has really perfected his Aspie-traits, and he lives it. Like he is proud, only that he isn't, he just lives Aspieness. So I can recognise myself, and laugh at myself simultaneously. He is both what I always wanted to be (true to myself), and what I am sad about in myself (always different no matter how hard I tried to be like everyone else). And he is very bright within his field, and clueless outside his field. This I can relate to as well. So when I laugh at Sheldon, I laugh at myself. Still, he is different from me in various ways. Gender-wise of course but also the fact that he never tries to be like everyone else, at least not sincerely.

Which leads me to my second point: Amy Farrah Fowler. She is probably Aspie, too, but as a woman it has been more important for her to fit in (whether the need to be part of a group is related to biological gender or cultural gender is not clear to me, but I observe this need in women and girls much more than in men and boys). So she tries to fit in. And fails. She tries to do the girl things. And fails. She talks wrong. She walks wrong. She dresses wrong. Her posture is wrong. She is either clingy or very distant. She doesn't see herself from the outside. Not in a realistic manner at least. I hate Amy. I hate being reminded of the pain of not fitting in, the pain of being embarrassing, the pain of being too much. While Sheldon lives quirkiness, Amy lives 'I-only-realise-I-am-too-much-afterwards'.

I really want to believe that I was the only one that discovered my being embarrassing at all those incidents throughout my life. But when I see Amy, I know that other people discovered it, too. When I talked too loud. When I over-shared. When I said the wrong thing or said it in a wrong context. When I was too blunt, too honest, too affectionate, too much...

And Amy reminds me of me. In the most brutal, non-empathic and painful way.

Thursday, 14 March 2013


There are vices and virtues of being on a business trip. On the down side is the travelling and sleeping in hotel beds. The past two days I have become aware of some of the virtues. I am currently in another country, for a meeting, followed by a conference. It is part of the job to attend conferences - about once a year. Recently I have turned the vicious part of conference attendance into a virtue. The breaks. The meals. The conference dinner.

During this trip I was paging through a free magazine on the train. There was an article on new trends. It said that the old trend of fear of missing out (F.O.M.O.) has been overtaken by a new one: JOY of missing out: J.O.M.O. - and that is what it is! My newfound pleasure... At the conference, when the session ends, I head for the coffee, and - while staring at my phone or a piece of paper in order to avoid contact - I find a place where I can sit alone. I skipped the conference dinner, said I had to work, walked to town, bought a sandwich, and thoroughly ENJOY sitting in my hotel room, missing out on all the chit-chat. I am being unfair, conference dinners can involve interesting scientific discussions. But I can't concentrate when more than one person is talking at the same time. So to me it might as well be chit-chat.

I know that missing out on purpose is not compliant to social code. Therefore I had no answer when some of the people I had a meeting with yesterday exclaimed: 'I'll walk with you!' when I said I'd rather walk than drive to my hotel. So I walked with them. I wonder if NT people are as anxious about what to talk about when they foresee that they have to spend time with other people?

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Liebster award

One of my favourite aspie-related blogs, mados, has tagged me for the Liebster award. I am honoured and it only gave me a little performance anxiety. I have been thinking a lot about how to respond. As always, playing by the rules is the obvious option. Luckily for someone like me, the rules in this context are explicit. They are as follows:
1. Give 11 random facts about me.
2. Answer the 11 questions that the tagger gave me
3. Make 11 new questions for the people I tag to answer.
4. Tag 11 blogs that are new or have less than 200 followers**.
Allright, let's jump into it...

1: 11 random facts about me
1. I don't do random, everything is planned and structured ;)
2. My nail on the right thumb is much bigger than the nail on the left
3. I am lactose intolerant
4. The best thing I know is analysing large datasets
5. The second best thing I know is cooking
6. I don't like surprises
7. I love coffee
8. I hate shopping
9. But I love interior decorating shops and magazines
10. Not that that - at all - is reflected in my home
11. I find spiders and bugs very interesting but I am scared of flying things, birds and bats in particular.

2: Questions for me:

  1. If you were to do a research project (no limitations, all resources provided), what would be its title and subject areaI do research for a living, so there are two answers to this question. One in my field of expertise and one in another area. In my own field I would like to work with data from some of the large American cohorts - and explore labour market consequences of common risk factors for disease, such as obesity and stress. Outside my own field: something very scientific, like neurology or insect studies. Or paleontology. I'd love to find out how the brain works and how everything originated...
  2. Do you have a formal degree/education – and what is it?I have a masters degree in economics and a Ph.D. in health economics
  3. What is the worst job you ever had, and why?I guess the one where my manager was a psychopath and made people cry, tops the list. Colleagues were nice though and I really liked the tasks. A runner-up was the part-time job I had in high school. I had to draw posters for a pizza-bakery. I got free food and colddrink. But I sat in a basement and inhaled the fumes from the permanent markers I had to use and I got a splitting headache. Every time.
  4. If you had the chance to travel to another planet and return, which planet would you go to (not considering risk and travel time)?Being afraid of heights I am not really tempted to go into space. I fly often but I really don't like it. :)
  5. If you and everybody you knew were to leave Earth on a generational spaceship and never return, which 3 words would best summarise your feelings about life on Earth?PleasantStressfulInefficient 
  6. Who is your favourite author?I love books, and I love several authors, for different reasons. For many years my answer would have been Salman Rushdie. Then for a long period I would have said John Irving. I may even still say that. But the best book I've read is by Siri Hustvedt.
  7. Have you ever thought of starting, or actually started, your own business – or undertaken freelance work?No, not really. I like having a manager and the structure of a workplace. 
  8. What is your preferred balance between solitude and socialising (including with close family, but pets don’t count) – as a general ‘rule of thumb’, in percent?To be perfectly honest: 70-30. While it often is the opposite in reality, that would be my preference. As much as I love my family and friends, I need time alone to re-energize.
  9. How do you prefer to socialise most of the time – Online or Offline?Online. I find real life socialising very stressful. I prefer written communication and also I can zone out when I want and leave the party without offending anybody.
  10. Has blogging helped you to develop as a person or change your life in a positive direction?Indeed. My Danish blog has been an invaluable tool in the long-term conflict with and quasi-estrangement from my mother. My aspie blog (this one) helps me to put words on my different-ness that I've always felt but never formulated.
  11. Which advice would you like to give new bloggers?Think carefully whether you want to be anonymous or not. If you are thoroughly anonymous, you can write about friends, family and colleagues - and they will never find out. In that case, don't tell people about your blog. I chose the middle way, I don't use my real name and my own photograph but I wasn't that difficult to identify (my Danish blog). I've bragged about this blog on facebook so it is not that anonymous, really. Sometimes I wish it was different. 

3: 11 questions for the tagged
1. What is your favourite time of day?
2. What is your favourite meal?
3. Do you have a special interest and if you do, how do you pursue it?
4. Are you doing any sports?
5. How do you view blogging (1): as a road to fame/new friends or a vent for thoughts you can't let out anywhere else?
6. How do you view blogging (2): relaxing or stressing?
7. Does your blog have a twitter account or a facebook page?
8. Who and what inspires you? People/books/TV-shows...
9. Do the people around you (colleagues, relatives, neighbours) know that you are blogging? Or are you, in the words of the Bug Girl, Batmanning?
10. If money wasn't an issue, where would you like to spend your vacation?
11. If you could bring a famous person on that vacation (dead or alive), who would it be?

4: Tag 11 new blogs
See, this was difficult. I have a number of blogs in my reader, most of them Danish-language, and the English-language ones are often very popular. I am not sure that the below selection is entirely by the rules but I've tried to tag blogs in two areas only: Autism/asperger and spiders/other bugs:

For aspie blogs, I follow many different. These five blogs are written by women that have aspergers themselves and/or have children with autism/asperger.
1. The seventh voice. Intelligent and well-spoken mother of an autistic son

2. Mind retrofit. Aspie mother of three, writing about her own and her childrens Asperger experiences. She is very honest and I can recognise myself a lot in what she writes.

3. Aspiewriter. Title sort of gives away the content, huh? ;) Also an aspie mother of three. And she's an author which is cool :)

4. The inner aspie. Strangely, another aspie mother of three.

Did I mention that I am a mother of three and that I am aspie? In my country however, home schooling is extremely seldom. This seems not to be the case in the US, where these women are based (so I gather). I mostly follow the inner aspie on facebook, but her blog is an interesting read.

5. The alien hippy. Aspie mother of an aspie daughter and she has such a lovely, honest and well, touching blog. Please go and read it. An you can follow alienhippy on facebook, too!

The next five blogs I've tagged are abut something completely different: spiders and other bugs
6. and 7. Thomas Shahan and  Nature closeup both have the most beautiful, amazing photographs of spiders. Take a look.

8. And bugs can not only be photographed, they can appear in poems too! The scope of this blog is rather narrow and perhaps that's why this is so fascinating. Three-line poems about spiders and other bugs with 6 legs: 3linesabout6legs!

9. The bug geek. Again, title says everything. An entomology PhD student, unfortunately taking a break these days. Doesn't matter really, you can still enjoy some of his older posts.

10. My all time favourite bug blogger, the bug girl. Her awesome spiderman post is probably the best tought lecture about spider reproduction, I've seen or heard.

And for the last tag, something completely different. I love cooking and baking, but most of the blogs I follow in this field is in Danish. In fact all blogs in my reader of this field are Danish. Except for this one which is - - - Swedish! But she writes in English :) Call me cupcake!

Being oblong

My ex-husband used to say to me: You've got oblong feet. Oblong meaning that they had a weird shape such that they didn't fit into normal shoes my size. I've discovered that this feature does not only apply to my feet, but to my everything.

About once a week or so, usually during a meal in my family, I feel oblong. I say something which may not be disastrous by any means, but it just doesn't fit nicely into the conversation. It happens at work quite often, that I say or do something that is just a little off the point. And I realise, sometimes immediately after, sometimes up to several years after the incident.

Sometimes my being oblong is so embarrasing (seen in retrospect), that I feel permanently awkward when thinking about it. I see it as a defeat, and I never forget my defeats.

Sometimes my husband says: What do you want to do? And quite often I reply: I don't know. Being around other people is part of life. But I only feel not-oblong when I am alone. I like being around other people (some other people at least - and in small doses), but it is demanding because I am oblong.

Sunday, 3 February 2013


I have strong analytical skills and weak opinions. I only realised that about myself yesterday.

There is a lot of changes taking place at work these days. I don't like that and I am eagerly waiting for it to pass. Some of the changes are good, others (such as people being laid off) are sad or worrying. I try to maintain a constructive attitude. But it is very difficult. Some of my colleagues are very negative, and they tend to see the worst, maybe even a conspiracy, in the whole thing. And when I talk to these people, I adopt their views. I become negative myself. It is as if they trigger something, a process that I can't stop. Ten minutes of negative talk and then I loop. I get stressed and depressed and I can't sleep.

I realised that my subconcious appears to have invented its own coping strategy. To put things in perspective, I seek the company of people with more positive views. I try and balance things in my head.

It is as if there is an analysis machine inside my head. If it is fed with conspiracy and negativity, it produces a negative analysis bordering on a full conspiracy theory. On the other hand, if it is fed with more constructive thoughts, the resulting analysis is likewise constructive and balanced.

Politically, I have some strong views on equal rights. I don't doubt for a second, that people's own choices should be respected as long as they don't impact negatively on others freedom. In other words, people can have whatever religion, living arrangements, sexual preferences etc. they wish and I strongly believe that society should accommodate this. That was basically the end of my strong views.

For everything else, I am - regrettably - a windbag. If I can see the reason of peoples argument, I more or less adopt it. And very often I can see the reason. I long ago decided on my favourite political party, which makes things easy, because I just have to adopt their views.

Damn. I wish I had stronger views - on a greater variety of things. Maybe this has to do with being a copycat?

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Burnt bridges

I recently finished reading Aspergirls by Rudy Simone. I enjoyed it a lot. It is such a pleasure to feel recognised, and to see somebody else expressing how I feel and have felt. It also adds a new perspective to my memories of my own childhood and adolescence. A new narrative perhaps.

One of the last chapters is entitled 'Burning Bridges'. Oh dear. Should I write my autobiography (or my mother's or brother's biography), something about burning bridges would be a favourite for the title.

I have confined my burnt bridges to workplaces. I do have a series of failed relationships behind me though, both romantic relations and friendships. However, most of the times it wasn't I who broke up, but the other person.

I left my first professional job following a conflict with my superior. I hurried away and never looked back. I held the position for 14 months. I wished that I had solved the conflict in a more constructive manner.

My next job was much better and it took 3½ years before I felt the ground burning and I had to get away. Maybe the tasks became a bit tedious, or I started losing concentration and made mistakes.

I accepted the first offer I got, which turned out to be disastrous. That new job just felt so completely wrong that I quitted after ten days. The people were nice, the perks were better than anywhere else I've worked, the wage was similar or maybe higher than my previous job, so what happened? The actual tasks were a bit boring and they also planned for me to go on a business trip to a very cold place. No reasons to quit after ten days, really. In retrospect, I probably had a meltdown, panicked, and ran. I remember the conversation I had with my superior after the ten days. I remember what I said and that I said it in a hoarse voice. I think my voice loses its feminity when I am under stress.

Because of that burnt bridge, the previous bridge also burned. People talk, and the people I worked with in the previous place heard of my behaviour.

Following this episode I worked for an international organisation for about six months. I worked on short contracts and tried to get away almost from the beginning. Short contracts are very stressful. But I left orderly and I didn't run.

I had the next job for about a year. I had frequent conflicts with the woman who I thought was my colleague, but in the minds of herself and the manager in fact was my superior. When I quitted, my manager was cross with me 'because of the way I quitted'. I can't remember how it happened, but I am sure my voice was hoarse.

My next job (which was three years in a large institution, but in two different divisions) ended in a major drama. My superior was probably the worst manager I've ever had. I am sure she was a psychopath. People in her department were stressed and fearful. She frequently made people cry and she was very manipulative. I used my network to return to my previous job (with a different manager), and then I had to resign. I was open and honest about the work environment and my managers leadership in my letter of resignation (I used the words 'management by fear'). Upon which she asked me to hand in my keys and leave. She was allergic to criticism and my voice was hoarse. I should say, that there was a bit more drama than that (as if it wasn't enough), because I accidentally kept some work papers at home, and in my meltdown state I also sent a few e-mails to collaborating partners. I probably shouldn't have done that. A friend of mine went to the work place with the papers a week later.

Returning to my old job was a success. I stayed for 6½ years, and only a few times I got so bored that I started making mistakes. Halfway through that period there was a restructuring and I got a new manager, a very pleasant and empathetic person. I liked him, my colleagues, my tasks, almost everything. The last year there things started going down the hill. I had to share an office with 'the smurf', and I lacked a professional network. So I left, but in an orderly manner.

 I held my next position for almost two years. I had a real moron for a colleague and that dominated my work experience to such an extent that my old way of always regarding the grass on the other side greener, returned.

My current job has changed considerably since I started about a year ago. Yes, the ground is burning. And no, I will not leave. The grass is NOT greener on the other side of the fence.

I wanted to write about my mother and brother being much worse than me in the field of leaving jobs angrily. But when I read what I have written, I think it is more or less the same.