Te Henga June 22 2014 and the influence of a photography class

Went for a beach walk with friends at the west coast beach Te Henga / Bethells on June 22 last year which is during winter, so, too cold for a swim. But who knows, perhaps I’ll have a midwinter swim this year.

It’s been bothering me that the beach experiences are being told out of order. There’s been so much jumping around. Recent posts have consisted of a previous beach visit that is combined in a post with a beach visit that occurred on the same day as the write-up. I wanted things to be strictly chronological but it seems that the interaction between storytelling and life events just isn’t like that. The process of remembering is not chronological. I latch onto chronology as a way to organise my memories, my past, but this is really just a filing and shelving mechanism. Today isn’t today for very long. But, equally, every day is today. Today is all there is but I’m constantly finding myself in the past. Past experiences influence and filter the present. Zeus is the most powerful of the Greek Gods, and isn’t his father Kronos? The God of time? Or something like that. Perhaps if you control time (chronology / history) you control everything and become the ultimate God of Gods.

Walking at Te Henga, Bethells beach in winter

Walking at Te Henga, Bethells beach in winter

The people in the photograph are probably not still there, at the beach. Photographs give the illusion of permanence even thought we know they capture just a small slice of time. A micro-second, but this depends on the camera setting. There will be footprints on the beach right now, but not the ones in the photograph as those imprints would have been erased and replaced by wind and water many times over.

A while ago – several years, in fact – I thought of a calendar as markings in the sand. Some days of the year have special significance, particularly those that remind us of loved ones who have departed. We remember these days and mark them in our own sand calendar, but when we are no longer able to remember those special days they are erased by windblown sand. Memories of children who die fade with every passing generation. Imagine all the losses that are no longer thought about because those who thought about them can no longer hold thoughts.

Perhaps this needs a bit of cropping to delete that funny bit of rock at the top

Oh yes! These photographs were taken just after I joined a photography class and became a bit more adventurous, perhaps, although you’d have to work pretty hard to take bad photographs at Te Henga.

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Wedding photo shoot in the distance

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Bethells beach, undercurrents, and a few thoughts on false selves

Next in the folder are photographs taken at Bethells beach on the 19th of January 2014 so I must have gone there even though I can’t remember anything about it.

Bethells beach is one of my favourites. I camped there with friends for several days when I was 14 years old, a wee while ago now. It is one of the surf beaches on Auckland’s west coast. These beaches are broad and flat with fine, black sand and are known to be wild. They have claimed many lives because people find themselves dragged out to sea in the strong currents that lurk beneath the waves.

The west coast landscape is impressive. Looks like I forgot to photograph the sea and I have no idea whether the tide was in or out, whether I went for a swim, or even who I was with. But I doubt it was with my (then) recently acquired (and now no longer) male companion as he is not fond of long walks.

Bethells beach in the afternoon

A rather grim Bethells beach looking northwest, probably late afternoon

I have been reading about the construction of a false self and how that can be toxic when people become attached to it. I can’t find an elegant way to incorporate it with this Bethells beach post so here it is, jammed in. Perhaps we find ourselves dragged beneath the waves and out to sea in the current of someone else’s false self that we unwittingly believe in.

This curiosity about ‘false selves’ has come about in relation to my recent break-up. Perhaps he had constructed a false self that I attached to and then when his true self emerged – on that fateful last night – it came as quite a shock. He went from being (the usual) Mr Nice-guy to (a foreign) Mr I-don’t-give-a-shit in a matter of minutes. Then he just walked out. And I haven’t heard from him since.

Anyway, which of his selves was false? Mr Charming or Mr I-don’t-care-a-single-bit? Both? And, how was I tricked for such a long time? The construction of a false persona is a HUGE topic. It has links to childhood trauma, narcissism, ego, borderline personality disorder… things I am now finding out about in relation to my parents.

Bethells beach looking towards the southwest

Bethells beach looking southwest

We didn’t have an argument, or anything like that, on the last night. But, now, thinking back, I realise he was planning ‘the dumping’ for at least a few days, possibly even weeks. If he was having difficulties in the relationship why didn’t he just talk to me about it? There was absolutely no attempt to do so. None. He let me think that he actually cared about me. Lots. But you don’t do what he did to someone you care about. You just don’t. That doesn’t mean that you can’t break up, but there are ways of breaking up. His way was awful.

He had purchased the wine and the meal he brought along to my house on that last night while all the time he was planning to break up. It was premeditated. A murder. Just a couple of days beforehand he had even suggested a future holiday. And he made a point of kissing me when he arrived. WTF?

Although taken months earlier, the bleak darkness of these beach photographs hints at how I felt after he left, despite my slightly desperate attempt to increase their brightness and colour saturation.