21st Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Artistic
The Aching Beauty of Growth

[The Aching Beauty of Growth] For all the hugs I cannot give; And all the oceans in between. Growing away from what I once called home can leave a feeling of emptiness sometimes... A space in my body for all the experiences I've missed - the birthday parties around my grandmother's table, the movies I haven't watched laying in the couch with my mom, the ice creams I haven't had in a hot Summer's day with my dad in my favourite ice cream parlour, the first milestones of my nephew learning how to crawl, the funeral of my grandfather I didn't attend. Being away is an option I chose and it has brought me incredible opportunities I haven't had, such as growing in my daytime career, exhibiting my photography and meeting incredible humans I wouldn't meet if I haven't left my home. But sometimes the hole of all the memories I haven't made takes over everything and it takes me a second to understand my choices again. The memories I haven't lived also provided me with the space I needed to grow - they give space to the ones I am making now. The belly laughs I have with my partner after a long day, the bike rides around Dublin by myself to find a photography spot, the hot chocolates I share with loved ones in my favourite cafe by the Liffey, the funny conversations I have with the little ones in work. Making the choice to leave opened up a different path for me and, with that, gave me a different version of myself I am also proud of. So everyday I choose to stay and everyday I have to learn how to live with the duality of being away... And try to remember that the hole I feel sometimes allows me space to blossom through the love and pain.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 10.2023
Date Uploaded: 11.2023
Photo Location: Dublin, Ireland
Copyright: © Mika Moret