Every now and then, creatives hit a brick wall. It almost seems impossible to come back from there. You find yourself stuck, hanging or floating, your mind; a wound up clock, spiraling out of control. Such was the state of my mind for a few days and nothing seemed to make sense. I felt the ground quake underneath and the walls, cave in, but I was too petrified, too rigged, too transfixed to the what nots and the if nots, that the grains of the material with which I had built my castle, the mansion of the ambition I dwelled in, fell, grain by grain, grit after grit and I was to myself a zombified version of me. In such hard times, books, music, adventures, movies and the comfort of friends and relatives, not particularly one for some or maybe all for others, help remedy this ill feeling.


For the length of this particular bout of torture, the word SANDCASTLES, stayed ingrained to the branches of my mind, seeping through the cracks and crevices willy-nilly. I couldn’t make any sense of why such a rarely used word across table could find place in my mind. I couldn’t make any sense of it or find meaning to it, until…

A metaphor for life, because you can spend a long time building your sandcastle, but eventually, the tides will win. You should rather enjoy the process, than think of the end result, cos life is about enjoying the journey, regardless of the outcome

Temporariness, something that can’t last, emptiness.

Kids, beaches and sandcastles.

In the build up to this write-up, I had the privilege to get inputs from the craziest group of intellectuals I know. The above quotes were products of the discourse. (Members of Book Cracks)

WHAT COMES TO MIND WHEN YOU SEE/HEAR THE WORD, SANDCASTLES?

Until now, I couldn’t make meaning of my mood and the random word that now chiefs my mind. The thoughts of strangers I barely met, members of a forum I had only a day before, joined, gave inputs that helped me, not only to explicate the invasive word, but bring down the brick wall that stood against me.


I remember now, how I once got a black eye from a big bully who had demolished my sandcastle as a child and how I made a vain attempt to defend the fortress I assumed I had built. I was especially shattered, it was not only the weight of the punch, yes, it was like taking a hammer blow right in the face. It was mostly how the castle I had painstakingly built, yielded. Yielding to the trampling foot of the bully without putting up as much as a struggle.

As kids, we built castles in the sand, made fences, parked imaginary cars and all the luxuries we imagined at the time and if not the trampling foot of a bully, the all reaching hand of rain comes and tears down the walls. The ill feeling that followed then didn’t really have a name, or we just couldn’t find the words then. It was the feeling of dashed hope, heartbreak, loss and an emptiness. One can only now wonder how something as temporary as that would have an immense effect on the mind of a child, but even now, the consistency is not negligible because while I write this and as you read, you could almost relate with every word herein. The relatedness of this to your present situation and status is not exclusive to the demolished castles at childhood or the floods that came and washed the fantasies away, but the persistent loss of the edifices of our dreams and aspirations.


            To build a dream is a concerted effort. Like the metaphor of birth, where thousands of sperm cells battle to fertilize an ovum and only one, not necessarily the fittest or the strongest, but the one that survives, finally makes it to the egg, dreams are like this. Time, energy, hope and passion is expended on building a dream and eventually, often in most cases, the tides win. This is what you’d hear if you were the secretary or the janitor in the office of a psychologist or you could listen in on the conversation while waiting for your turn in the reception. Dashed hopes, heartbreaks, losses and an emptiness accompanies different harrowing experiences, sad tales and the ushering of depression. You’d hear the pain of the builder, the sound of the walls coming down and the distant wails of the crushed souls of those afflicted with depression.

It is no cakewalk to stay optimistic time and again when the castles and dreams come crashing down and I, by all sense of sincerity, identify with the heroes who regardless of crashing under the weight of disappointments and failure, lived; even more, those that yielded to it. No one, not one person knew you like you did yourself, felt it like you felt it or could have done better given the exact same scenario, our issues may have similar names, but our battles are very different and yes, we are all fighting personal battles, no one is spared.


One of the ways I got through and like a hack that has helped me go through the torrents of disappointment and failures that tore down my castles is, identifying that on the road to success, there are mines, booby traps, predators of the wild vicious jungle of life and the harshest of elements make it a life threatening journey. Each time I escape, sometimes scathed, sometimes unscathed, but with life, I make new X’s and Dots on my map. I have learnt to view it as a process that helps mold future constructions of my dreams, helps me reinforce my strategy and projects me to anticipate whatever jumps out of every corner and bend.

I must confess, sometimes I slip, sometimes I am too human to be perfect and sometimes, the net catches me off guard, but changing my perception has changed the precept of my stance. Now rather than sulk at the loss, rather than let myself be beat down, I have found it most helpful to enjoy the process, learn from the events and take action. I have learnt to live life like life should be lived; above it all rather than stay under and be pressed down (depressed), burdened (overwhelmed), embittered (sad) and irritated (frustrated).

2 thoughts on “SANDCASTLES- stuff of dreams

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