It’s not easy letting people in. Every disappointment, heartbreak, and rejection is another stone on the wall we build to protect ourselves against the chance of having someone tear us down again. We learn early on how to keep our distance from those who might hurt us. Being called cold-hearted is a badge of honor for anyone who’s had to strengthen their defenses after another piece of heart is torn off. But, as much as we resist, we end up finding ourselves in front of someone who makes us believe that maybe this time will be different.
It starts as a whisper in our mind. It’s a small nudge encouraging us to try again. Little by little we begin to loosen our grip, yet we remain vigilant and protective over our emotions. Every smile or unexpected touch makes us forget about our careful strategy.
Then one day, when we least expect it, we realize that we’ve been left bare of any lock or safety measure. It’s up to us to decide whether it’s time to attempt the impossible once more: to love without being overpowered by the object of our desire.
Hamed Arghavan is an illustrator from Iran who creates the most tender encounters that remind us of the moment in a new relationship when we realize we’ve fallen in love against our will or better judgment. The characters in his vignettes exist between reality and the fanciful daydream of tenderness and longing. We see ourselves captured through his different illustrations as we let go of our worries and concerns, as we dive into the oblivion of emotion.
We all know pain, the kind that hurts like a papercut on the soul. It’s a cut so thin that no one else is able to notice. Yet every sudden movement or thought is enough to crumble all our hope. It’s the knowledge of this kind of pain that keeps us worried of trusting in a new love.
When we meet someone new, we try to run away as fast as we can. Yet we find ourselves unexplainably drawn to them. Our mind runs away and starts fantasizing of what could be. We fight it but end up losing each battle to the one who inevitably raises our hopes for a fresh start.
Arghavan’s scenes are relatable in the sense that we can sense the hesitation that is thrown out the window by characters who’ve been burned before but are still pursuing the object of their affection. We’ve all walked in those footsteps that are scared of what could be and what might happen. Yet, to remain vigilant and careful is to avoid the adventure that is to fall head over heels into a passionate frenzy. We come to terms that all our past hurts are harsh lessons that show us to never lose sight of who we are despite our enchantment and desire for another.
We can avoid love. It’s not easy, but it’s possible. Yet doing that is missing out on the unpredictable and surprising feelings that come with an amorous encounter.
You can find more of Hamed Arghavan’s works on his Instagram.