These photos were taken at my cousin's farewell/post-doctoral party last month, before him moving to Mexico with his girlfriend. I've always enjoyed get-togethers with family, being surrounded by goodhearted people. And it got me thinking about our need for human touch. The fact that we are so connected and in a way dependent on each other. It's what we need the most when we are babies and that's why a lack of it can have such a huge impact on how a person ends up becoming. Our brains are so plastic in early life that if you don't experience being loved and feel depressed due to that, those neural connections are being reinforced. It's like building your brain architecture to be prone to depression.
I've had quite a happy childhood from what I remember and I'm very lucky to have had two loving parents and a wonderful brother. But during early elementary school I had a not so pleasant experience with some of my class mates, which later on made it hard for me to trust people. I often felt like people were conspiring against me, leaving me out of stuff and above all I felt really lonely. For long did I think that I was in some way weird, different from everyone else, not the way you were "supposed to be". I blamed it on myself and felt unworthy. I grew a desperate need to please other people. When I think about it afterwards I'm pretty sure most of it was solely in my mind, though. As time passed I learned to let go of those thoughts and started finding myself (so to speak). In doing the things that I loved (which was mainly drawing and painting back in those days) instead of focusing completely on the people around me I established a comfort zone where I was truly happy. And I suddenly realized that instead of worrying about people that I barely knew, I should be investing fully in the people that were there for me. It took me some time to actually put it into practice but I got there eventually. But I believe I had my "final realization" after meeting my boyfriend and having dated him for two years roughly. That's when everything just became very clear. The trust, sense of security and being able to truly show myself to someone I hadn't even known for that long was so overwhelming. It made me understand the importance of being honest, not only to other people but to oneself.
Nowadays I view getting to know new people as something exciting, not as this huge monster causing disappointment and displeasure, like before. I do still have my limits, though. Too many new faces in a short period of time may be very exhausting as well. Dunbar's number...that's one of the reasons why I wouldn't enjoy living in a big city. Too many people in one place. And the growth of community sizes has happened so rapidly that our poor brains haven't had time to adjust to it. Such huge masses of people would surely make us disconnected from each other, with the lack of trust and whatnot. I really don't know what my point is in sharing this. It's not like I have any answers or solutions to these big important questions. And I don't know the meaning of life, but what makes most sense to me is that we should try our best to do what we love and fulfill our potential (also when it comes to relationships), because that's what happiness is all about, the feeling of fulfillment. And spread that shit everywhere.