So, my riding lessons have been going really well. Work’s been rolling right along, and the advocacy program I participated in from June/July has turned into this amazing community connecting me to other people with narcolepsy, who also happen to be pretty damn awesome aside from (because of? in spite of?) the diagnosis we share. There’s already been some cool opportunities starting to bubble out of it, and I’m excited to just enjoy things as they present themselves.
Last Friday however, wasn’t a great lesson. I was jumping Rain again, who had had the past two weeks off after getting a nasty bug bite on her back not long after our last lesson. She’d had one ride the day before, and instructor told me she’d been a bit full of herself coming off the break and taken advantage of her kid by casually detouring them over a jump or two. But it was 1pm in the afternoon, high 80s with humidity and only the faintest gasp of a breeze – mare’s not going to want to put more effort in than is necessary right???
No sirree! Rain was raring to go, and once we’d “warmed up” (relative since we both basically started dripping within a lap of trotting) she gave our first (2 foot) jump an extra foot and a half of clearance. Next fence, an extra foot. And same for the next couple. I’d let her get behind my leg as we approached (ya know, in an attempt to direct and prepare myself for the rocket launch) and inevitably we’d roll right up to the jump where she’d pogo-stick and I just tried to stick. Basically, our breaks were for me because sure, Rain would get huffing a bit, but as soon as her breathing slowed down she was ready to again (mare, why so much energy???).
I eventually (after a stirrup adjustment – saddle is too big for me and my knee was nowhere near the block) caught on that I just needed to ride her forward so she could jump and not hop. That way my body could follow the leap as it happened, instead of anticipating and trying to set myself up separately from her. Maybe that makes it sound like we really got the hang of it, but if it’s any indication, there’s no pictures or videos from this lesson ;) It literally took until our very last jump, and by that time I knew I was riding like a noodle regardless of how well she was going.
Got pony cooled out, hosed down, fly sprayed and peppermint stuffed, and then got myself home where I proceeded to flop around until I had enough energy to take a shower (and then took my second nap of the day after that). Although I felt guilty about it, I also had to tell the good friend I was supposed to call and catch up with that afternoon that I’d need to talk another day (she assured me it was totally fine, and no big deal like the amazing person she is <3). Saturday I handled work alright, but needed a long nap afterward, and while I had wanted to get with my friend who lives in town either Sunday or Monday (even though I work part-time, I only get two days off in a row if there’s a holiday or I can get a coworker to cover for me) I ended up using those as ‘easy’ days too.
Between working an extra day, going in early another day, and the subsequent rescheduling of my riding lesson to where it followed another appointment and was at the hottest part of the day, I was definitely pushing my energy limits a bit.
As I was talking to my therapist today, she reminded me that unlike in the past where I’d be bitter or guilty about this, or just keep going, I seemed more accepting. Which is true I think – this weekend instead of feeling like I wasn’t doing enough or trying to find a way to ‘make it work’ (and ignoring body protests) I just went along with the fact that I’d need rest for work Saturday, and I needed an easy Sunday (and then Monday) for the rest of the week. Is that what acceptance feels like?? I know it’s not a place I’m in 100% of the time, but it’s nice to have a reality check that I’m listening and adjusting to myself and more along the lines of ‘well that wasn’t a great lesson, but hey I had other stuff going on too – there will be more’ vs ‘oh shit I’m way beyond empty and probably shouldn’t have said yes to that one more thing.’