“If what I’m writing is coming from a place of love and an intention to help… then write and publish.”
This was the beautiful personal intention shared earlier this month by Open Book Community member, Laura Vegh.
Laura recently blew our community away in her reading during our March Salon. In her reading, she shared her experience attempting to bring awareness to a LinkedIn “guru” for their off-hand remarks about someone who had approached them via the platform without any small talk.
Sure, they could also be an aggressive salesperson who didn’t know how to do business. But there was a chance they could be autistic, Laura shared.
She was promptly blocked.
My experience with that one person fueled my interest in knowing more. It turns out that awareness of neurodiversity is not great, for lack of a better word.
People are discriminated against, judged, shamed, and even lose promotions they worked hard for because their tone of voice isn’t great, or they’re not good at making eye contact. They can have the best performance work-wise. It all fades away because of something as harmless as a tone of voice. - Laura
Laura is a freelance writer and self-described “traveler, feminist, dreamer, neurodivergent.”
She has begun writing more about her experience - and amplifying the experiences of others - through her writing on Medium. Her series “Autism Tales” is published through the ArtfullyAutistic newsletter and under her own profile.
But, it’s not just through her articles that Laura is making waves and challenging the status quo. She’s found another channel for her voice - on LinkedIn - and can be found there often sharing nuggets about writing, freelance life, and how to be inclusive of neurodivergent individuals - important for our workplaces and all of our communities.
Laura shares that she didn’t always plan to be so vocal about neurodiversity in her writing. But, as she became more aware of what was happening (and not) when it came to inclusion on LinkedIn, she realized she could either sit back and ignore it or speak up.
She decided to say something.
And now, we don’t want her to stop!
I have learned an immense amount about autism over the last few months from Laura. I encourage you to do the same.
Be sure to:
Follow Laura on LinkedIn. She's shaking things up with her thoughts about freelance writing, the use of the platform and how to generally be a good human. Importantly, she’s challenging others to leave their assumptions at the door.
Follow Laura on Medium . She’s posting digestible, real-life and informative content about neurodiversity.
Continue to educate yourself about autism and neurodiversity more broadly. April is Autism Awareness Month and there’s lots of resources out there right now; however, this can and should be a year-round examination.
Perhaps most importantly, let’s all take a page out of Laura’s book:
Don’t assume. Don’t judge. Let go of the preconceived notions you have about what makes a good worker or a good freelancer. Be open-minded. For real. Or if you prefer anecdotes: don’t judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree.
One of the lessons for me here from Laura’s journey is this:
You don’t always end up on a path you were meaning to be on.
But, if you see some signs you can’t ignore and follow your own truth, you just may end up on a path that is ultimately meant for you.
PS: Interested in getting some writing inspiration, community updates and event info straight to your inbox? Sign up to get the latest ("every once in a while, lowkey, no major email blasts" news) here.
PPS: Laura and I are co-hosting a session on How to Pitch Your Writing this month. The workshop is taking place inside The Open Book Community, a pay-what-you-choose community writing space. For more info on how to join, email email@example.com.