Hear Me Roar

Sunday, 14th May 2017 – 12:43

In November of last year I developed three things: an idea for a short story (Luca’s Story), a horrid chest infection, and the beginnings of a relationship. By mid December, only one of those things was still around.

I met Roar (not his real name) on Tinder. It wasn’t my first time attempting to meet someone using the medium of online dating. But Roar was definitely the first person from that specific app I’d genuinely considered meeting. Based in Dundee, I was immediately hesitant to get involved with him fearing that there was just too much distance to start anything with him. However the more we chatted, the more I came to really like him. He was dorky, cute, and he made me smile. Pretty much everything I look for in a guy. I quickly became smitten with someone I’d yet to even meet.

But meet we did. After about a week of almost constant chatting back and forth we decided to meet up in Perth. It was for the most part, the middle ground between us. I had asked him out, so the date was mine to plan. I hadn’t really been in Perth since the year I had spent studying there almost seven years prior. Needless to say my ‘plan’ involved a lot of winging things as I went.

We agreed to meet at the Perth Train Station. I had driven through and parked as close as I could, using my sat nav to find a spot I could park for free. Roar travelled through from Dundee, and waited patiently even when I was a little late getting in to Perth. I made it to the station, but didn’t realise I had parked at the rear of the station and so when I approached, I actually entered the rear platforms, before making it to inner station. Roar eventually called me, I think he must have thought I wasn’t going to show. After assuring him I was really in Perth, he managed to direct me through the station, getting me to the main gates where I had to sheepishly find a guard to let me through the barriers. Both the guard and Roar found my plea to get through quite amusing.

Roar was sweet, he playfully mocked me for breaking into a train station, but it made it easier to talk to him. I admitted that I hadn’t really planned anything specific, but that I was hoping to find a place to have pizza together. Neither of us knew Perth particularly well so when we stumbled upon a Pizza Express within five minutes of walking I think we were both quite relieved.

We already knew quite a bit about one another through texting, and had even used FaceTime to talk in person a couple of times prior to actually meeting. We chatted back and forth, and it was just so easy to be in each others company. All too soon we finished eating. I don’t think either of us wanted to end things at that point, and so it was a relief when Roar mentioned that his next train was still an hour and a half away. What to do during that time?

We settled on going to the cinema. It was snowing lightly and neither of us were keen on being outside any longer than we had to be. There was nothing either of us wanted to see, but that didn’t stop us. We decided to watch ‘The Light Between Oceans’, in hindsight not a film for first dates, but it gave us a chance to just be around one another with no agenda or need to think of what to say. I’d say we spent more time looking sideways at one another than we did watching the film, and we left about half an hour before the end to allow time to get back to the train station.

The snow was still falling as we walked back to the station, and as we walked through the streets of Perth our hands met, and without it being a big deal, we walked hand in hand back to the station. It felt right, and it felt special.

It was less than a week before we met again. This time it was Roar’s time to plan the date, and his itinerary was much more detailed than mine. A full day of activities were planned, with a back up wet weather plan should we have needed it. We managed about two of the activities he had planned that day, due mostly to the fact that my chest infection had gotten much worse and beyond sitting in the cinema, or driving around, I was not really able to do too much that day. But it was a day that brought us much closer. I think both of us had allowed ourselves to get swept up in the joys of a developing relationship. Even on our second date, we really felt so close.

I saw Roar a number of times throughout the rest of the month. Each time we got closer, and more comfortable around one another.

Yet already my nemesis was at work. The part of me which destroys the things I care about. The part of me which walks away from things I am passionate about. My inner self, the part of me that doesn’t believe I deserve the good things I have. I had so many reasons at the time that made sense when it came to ending things.

I had no time, I lived too far away, I didn’t have enough money to travel so often. I had just given up a flat, and was living in between my brother’s flat and my parents house. I was a full time carer for my brother. I was still helping out regularly at home. I had a lot of work commitments.

The list went on and on. Yet while each reason was valid and made sense, ultimately my decision was truly a reflection of my relationship with myself.

It’s often very easy to get swept up in something new. Roar wasn’t just something new in my life, he represented something I don’t think I’ve ever had before. He represented a desire to have more than just a life which facilitated to the needs of others. He represented my desire to have a life that catered to my needs as a priority. It wasn’t just that I wanted a relationship, it was that I wanted to put myself first.

I’m a very closed person. I don’t let my guard down easily, I don’t let people in, not entirely. Even the people that know me best have had to build up what they know about me over years of friendship.

With Roar it was different. I not only wanted to share the bits of myself that I was proud of, but I felt I could share the bits of myself that I often tried to hide. I ended things before they ever really begun. I ended things because I was scared. I ended things because by opening up to another person, I had finally began to open up to myself. I realised that I needed to become more familiar with who I was, and the things that I actually wanted in life, before I could share that with another person.

Learning to love yourself is a daily practice. I wish I had been able to figure these things out before I met Roar. But meeting him, and getting to know him has led me down a path that I am happy to have travelled. I doubt I will ever see Roar again, but I will be forever grateful that I met him. Knowing him left me with the realisation that it is okay to feel special, and that it is okay to want more from life. Above all, it made me aware that my needs are as important as the needs of other people.

Six months have passed and while the relationship with Roar is long over, the positive relationship with myself that I once again have is something I can take from our short time together. So thank you Roar. I truly hope you also find lasting happiness.

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