Dangerous Compassions

natural history museum

natural history museum

“I wanted to go to a museum today,” Ming said.  We were driving home from Govinda’s, and I was surprised.

“Art museum?” I asked.

“Natural history museum,” he said.

“Oh!  You wanna go there?” I asked.

I thought I needed to go in too, or Ming would only stay for 15 minutes.  He said no, I didn’t need to go in.  I checked the prices on the internet, noting the senior price.

natural history museum

So we went to the natural history museum, all of a sudden.  Yes, senior started at 55, so he got a discount ticket.  Strangely, I think I liked it more than he did!  I thought that place was just for kids.  But Ming and I are full on adults, and we loved it.

I got really excited afterward about all I learned.  Learning is such a deep pleasure, a reason to live.


First we saw rocks.  I was disoriented and confused, wondering if these were local rocks, or minerals in general?  Sulfur is so beautiful, that yellow-green.  The quartz is an old friend.  I like opals, geodes, gypsum, silver ore, copper.  There was a thing you can spin to see different rocks under microscope.  The turquoise was very sweet.  Even the sandstone was pretty.

We saw rocks that glow under black light, and some scorpions were there too, to glow under black light when we pushed the button.  Poor scorpions were just there to glow.  I was sorry for them, in their small glass box.


Then we saw skeletons.  Again it was dizzying.  Are these ancient rhinos the rhinos that used to live here?  Or in some other part of the world?

The huge ancient sloth was surprising, the shape of its skull.

natural history museum

Ming took some pictures for me.  He helped me understand some skulls, which side was the mouth side, and which side the neck side.


sea stuff

We saw sea stuff.  Sculptures of dolphins and whales.  I was squicked by the wall of jars with dead things preserved in them.  Yuck!

My knee was hurting, so Ming helped me find a bench to sit for a while.  I was on my phone dissociating.  To comfort myself, I was rocking, which felt helpful, and singing a tuneless tune to myself.  I knew I was acting autistic, but not that many people were around, and it really helped me relax and get back to baseline, so I could continue through the museum and see more things.

Autism is real.  Masking is so much work, and to let my guard down for a while is very helpful.  I need the rest.  It doesn’t make sense for me to sacrifice my well-being for the comfort of strangers who have not much seen a grown woman stim.  Let today be the day they see a grown woman stim.  I hope they can handle it.

There was an aquarium part.  Ming told me afterward that he liked the blind fish who evolved without eyes after living in a cave for some time.  I did not enjoy the fish without eyes.  Also there was a big fish that seemed unhappy in its small aquarium.  It was not swimming around happily or neutrally–it looked miserable, swimming up against the edge at a weird angle.


There was a popular area that was filled with people.  I think it’s more geared for kids and has more activities and science mini-experiments.  It was no problem to totally ignore that room this time.

The last room was saw was stuffed with taxidermy animals.  I said, “I’m sorry you’re dead,” to the gorgeous ungulates.  Then I saw some wolves and felt pretty terrified.  That was one of the strangest moments of the natural history museum visit.  I felt kind of like I would faint, I was so afraid of that wolf.

Maybe my ancestor got eaten by one?  I had zero fear reaction to the big cats or the bears.  I used to think wolves were evil.

I was excited to see the jaguar and the black jaguar.  Ming tried to research on his phone whether the black jaguar was a separate species, and he couldn’t find good info.  No, it’s not separate.  Jaguar is sacred to me because when I was was in the hospital and almost died, Jaguar led me out of the jungle.

real things

It was so exciting to learn about real things, actual physical objects that can be measured.  So much lately I learn about pain, grief, loss, boundaries, death, how fucked up people can be.  What a relief, to learn about science stuff that is in the outer world, and people can agree upon it, with nothing to do with feelings.

We came home, I took off my heavy dress, and I lay in bed and cried.  Wow, learning feels so good.  Like eating the most delicious food but for my mind.  And it made me want to learn more.  Maybe I should become a scientist.


Oh, but I wanted to draw all the skeletons.  Maybe I can be a scientist who draws.

Please take my advice and visit a natural history museum, even if you are a full-on adult.  They are great places to learn.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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