This post was originally very different, but I realized I was making myself sad, so I rewrote it. Less maudlin melodrama, more reporting!
Here's what I have done so far:
1) Made a list of all the local stables that are within a twenty minute drive from where I live.
2) Drove to the first one on the list just so I would know what it looked like.
3) .........Had anxiety.
My next step is to call the stable to ask about lessons. I have absolutely no anxiety about the horses or about riding itself, but I have had terrible social anxiety for my whole life. (Apparently, when I first went to nursery school, I spent the entire first day crying. Not, like, cried for a while and then moved on--cried the whole time. I guess I did that basically the entire first week. Ma said I didn't have to go back, but I am also stubborn. I eventually stopped crying, but I was incapable of speaking while there for that whole first year. Selective mutism is a bad term, IMO, because it implied that the person is selecting when to talk or not. My brain had a complete lockdown on my throat. I could not make a sound to save my life. I'm not a toddler anymore, obviously, but I wanted to give an example of how bad it used to be.) I am already terrified of the people I'll have to interact with. I feel a little sick just thinking about it. With luck, and determination, and a good barn culture, I will get over that. Maybe I'll even make friends. That would be nice.
I have made two concessions to my anxiety:
1) the aforementioned visit, in which I didn't even get out of the care to look around, because I know not to wander around people's barn like a weirdo, don't worry. I just needed to see the place, to eliminate one unknown.
2) I gave myself a deadline for next Monday by which I'll need to call the trainer. Okay, anxiety we can push it back a little bit, but it's written on the calendar where everyone can see it, so.
The stable is very pretty. I don't have my heart set on it, and if things don't feel good I'll keep looking, but it looks very nice. It's a hunter/jumper stable, set far back from the road, in an area that is very green. They must have some lovely trails to ride. All the horses had been taken in for the day, but I saw a lil' horsie nose poking out of its stall door. Very sad to have been unable to pet it.
There's a few ways I figure the conversation can go:
1) It will go to voicemail and I will gratefully write them an email instead.
2) She picks up and is able to talk, and we do talk. We both ask each other questions, and I get a sense of what she's like.
3) She picks up and is very business-like, makes an appointment and that's that. In which case I either need to find a way to force out what I want to say (hello, I'm an adult re-rider, I'm autistic and socially awkward but actually very friendly, I'm not in great shape but am working very hard to get fit again, I will work hard at this, do you have a weight limit, dress code, special COVID policies, or anything else I need to know, etc.) or they go unanswered and I obsess about how it didn't go the way I wanted it to, and what if I show up at the barn and they think I'm weird and also I'm too fat for their horses.
I did not go into this post with the intention of writing so many numbered lists, but there you have it. I suppose I will write next on Monday. Wish me courage.