Today, I had a new teacher for my riding lessons. The problem with this is that I felt really, really horribly shy in front of my new teacher. When I feel shy, I want to curl into a ball. When you curl into a ball, you can't control your horse. When you can't control your horse, it's embarrassing. When you get embarrassed, you want to curl into an even tinier ball. Repeat.
Horses are like people, in that if you ask them to do something in a meek, shy little voice filled with uncertainty, they just do whatever the hell they feel like doing at the time. If you ask them to do something assertively, they do it. Because I was so uncomfortable and uncertain, it was impossible to keep my back straight and actually ride the horse today. So I basically regressed to the skill level of my first ever riding lesson. Meanwhile I knew that all I had to do was have some confidence, and he would listen to me. But as it was, he was in charge. Not me. Which made me keep thinking, "I bet they wonder what I am even doing here." Which, in turn, further decreased my confidence and made me ride even worse. Also, I lost my balance at one point and landed on the pommel in a really uncomfortable way, if you catch my drift. So I have a nice painful reminder of how horribly I rode today.
My lesson today was particularly distressing to me, because I was all revved up to start riding a second time each week. Thursday nights, there's a group lesson/wine drinking party for adult riders, and my old teacher asked me to go to it. Now, after today with the new teacher, and my massive shyness attack, I just don't know if I can do it. My new teacher teaches the group lesson, and I won't know any of the other riders. By the time my lesson was over today, all I wanted to do was pull the covers over my head and cry. Not go hang out with the people I just embarrassed myself in front of and have to socialize with them, going straight from one anxiety producing event to another.
Now. If you asked me how any of the other people having lessons today rode, I would not be able to tell you. I was so focused on my own riding that I was basically oblivious to the fact that there were other people in the ring, other than when I was trying not to crash my horse into them. So I know that they probably have no idea that I was sitting there on my horse, shaped like a question mark. But shyness is not rational. I can't help it that I get so ridiculously self-conscious, and telling myself that the other riders are not paying attention to me does not seem to help.
This is so frustrating to me. I want to make friends. I love riding SO MUCH I can barely stand it. But instead of spending Thursday evening riding and then potentially talking to people who also like riding and I may be able to be friends with, my own shyness is going to keep me home, curled in a little ball on Thursday night. Because really, if I slouched down any further on that horse this morning, I probably would have fallen off.