Tuesday, October 11, 2011

wine, and erin

Last week, I finally went to the Thursday night wine and horseback riding lesson.  There were five riders, including me.  I was, by far, the worst one.  This is not a position I like to find myself in when I am doing something in a group, but it's something that I think is good for me.  When you're a perfectionist, nothing is better for you than sucking at something.  Also, just about nothing is harder.  Except for maybe sucking at something in front of a bunch of strangers that you want to like you. 

And of course, nothing bad happened.  It was actually fun to be riding in a group setting.  It was fine being the worst one.  At some point, you're SO FAR behind the other people that it's not even embarrassing -- you're just a beginner, and they're experienced.  I did not fall off, I did not go bolting across the ring out of control.  There was one point where I couldn't get my horse to stop, but even that wasn't too bad.  Then, after the lesson, we had wine and chatted.  Another person in my lesson was surprised to learn that horseback riding was a new hobby for me, which flattered me.  Everyone swapped stories about falling off, and my old teacher told a story about a student that she was convinced was trying to murder her (by poisoning).  I did not say much, but it was okay.  I did not drink excessive amounts of wine, which I felt was crucial considering that one e-mail exchange.  After an hour, we all went home.  All-in-all, it was fun, and nothing terrible happened. 

(I do not ride like this.  Not even close.)

Which is, of course, a valuable lesson for a shy girl like me.  It's never as bad as you think it's going to be.  I had it so built up in my head, the perfect storm of anxiety.  People I didn't know, who were bound to ask me what I did for a living, who were all better than me at something I cared about.  Except that actually, I knew three of the six people who stayed after (two teachers and the office manager of the barn), everyone was really nice, no one asked me what I did for a living, and who freaking cares if I suck at horseback riding, it's not like I have to ride a horse to work or something.  It's supposed to be FUN, right?

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