Tag Archives: women

Castle Of Love

“I love to see a young girl go out and grab life by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.”
-Maya Angelou

Sophia watched as he kicked over the spire she had just carefully crafted for her sand castle of love. Bradley was getting her back for telling him he wasn’t doing it the way she wanted it to be done. He’d asked if she would teach him to build by letting him help her. Then, as soon as he got a shovel in his hand, he was directing the whole project without a clue on how to do it.
“I wish I could push you off a cliff!” Bradley said. He folded his arms and stuck out his bottom lip.
“I’m firing you from my Castle of Love Club,” Sophia said glumly. She watched as Bradley threw down his shovel and trundled down the beach, his pants full of sand and falling down. She found the whole thing ironic.

Sophia resolved to build her castle of love by herself to herself. Dressed in her pink party dress now wet and covered with sand, she got to work. She worked tirelessly, hoping to finish it before the tide came in. As she went for more water to fill her bucket she began to worry that the tide would wash it away before she could finish. If only she hadn’t wasted so much time trying to train Bradley…but everything happens for a reason, she supposed. Poor Bradley, she thought. He just didn’t get it. Maybe someday he will build his own castle of love.

As the water inched up the beach, she found herself deeper and deeper. At first she didn’t believe she saw what she saw. She dismissed it as a sort of choppy water shadow. But then there was no mistaking it. It was a big, slick bald head, with whiskers and dark soulful eyes, looking right at her. Sophia’s first reaction was to scream.
“Please, don’t be frightened! I’m so sorry; there is no other way to come up for air other than to just pop up!”
Sophia shook her head in agreement, not taking her eyes off the seal.
“Hey, nice castle. My name is Lilo. Yours?”
“Thanks Lilo. I’m Sophia. I’m sorry for screaming.”
“Can I help you finish this before the tide comes in? You will need to train me, but I’m a good student.”
Sophia took a few minutes to show Lilo what he needed to do, and placed Bradley’s little blue shovel in his mouth. He proved to be invaluable and had such a supportive attitude. He worked fast and was able to pat down the sand quickly with his strong foreflippers. They had built a magnificent castle of love—it was even more beautiful than she’d imagined it.

Lilo was so excited to be involved in the project that he wanted to do it again. They agreed to meet again, and again, and again. Within a short time, they were a team. Hotels advertised them as a “must see” attraction. Soon beach walkers came from all around to see the amazing castles built by Sophia and Lilo. They threw money in their little red bucket which she’d then split, buying fish for Lilo with his half.

The two built castles daily for the tourists to enjoy, and they grew very close. Each inspired the other to try new and more imaginative challenges. Sophia felt her life was very full, and she cherished her friendship with Lilo. Lilo was very protective of Sophia and once chased Bradley down the beach. Bradley discovered them one day building the most ambitious castle yet. It had motes and a drawbridge, and was very, very tall. Bradley told them the castle was ugly and they would die dumb from building dumb, ugly castles. That was enough for Lilo, who barked while chasing after Bradley as he cried in fear, running down the beach, and peeing his pants.

Sophia lay in an almost overflowing bath of bubbles. It had been a particularly profitable day. She thought about how determined she had been to build her castle of love, by herself. Not until then did she attract others who were supportive and wanted to help.

So, for now, young Sophia found it was easier to train a seal to help build her castle of love, than it was to train a boy.

Bernice post card

“We’re our own dragons as well as our own heroes, and we have to rescue ourselves from ourselves.” -Tom Robbins

Bernice wanted to be the one who would get up and dance with crazy abandon when the music moved her. No matter who was watching or disapproving.

She didn’t know when she’d become so afraid to live. She’d done everything the others told her she should do to be happy.

Yet it all fell painfully short of making her happy. She could stand on one leg for hours, but so could everyone else. She lived in what the others called the “Safe Zone.” A place where nothing new happened, every day.

She always did exactly as she should, for fear she’d lose the love of the others if she didn’t. She didn’t want to be ostracized. Those were the conditions for maintaining her position. She worried she’d say the wrong thing and offend someone, so she stayed quiet. She stuck to safe conversations about the weather and food.


One day, while members of the colony were all pecking for invertebrates, Bernice thought she could hear music. Kettle drums to be exact. She wandered off to see where the music was coming from. Once away from the others, her solitude—combined with the beautiful music—inspired her to strut her stuff.

She did a head flag move stretching her head as high as she could. She turned it from side to side, in rhythm to the distant music. Then she performed a majestic wing salute, spreading her wings and enjoying the feeling of empowerment in the pose.  As she made a savvy move into a twist preen, she closed her eyes, lost in the music. Then she heard the roar.

She stood paralyzed with fear, eyes closed, head buried. The music drummed on cheerfully in the distance. She opened her eyes and watched the lion lick his lips. This was bad. Very, very bad.

They locked eyes. She could smell his breath. Her thoughts raced, and she felt she would burst from the trembling and her beating heart. As she felt the fear, acknowledging it and that it was not going to help her, something came over her. The music played on, and she thought about how she had felt a few minutes ago, dancing to a power that moved her. Her power.
With all the calm she could muster, she said to the lion,

“Would you like to dance?”
“I thought you’d never ask!” he said excitedly.

“You are quite a beautiful and graceful dancer. Maybe you could teach me to do that thing you do with your neck?” he suggested.

They danced under the Banyan trees late into the evening when the music stopped. They thanked one another and parted ways, promising to do it again soon. The lion was a very charismatic partner, Bernice thought to herself. Not what she expected at all.

As she headed back to the lagoon and the colony, it struck her that all of her fears were an illusion. They were based on the preconceived idea that anyone outside the colony was bad news—no exceptions. The others had put that idea in her head because it’s how they were raised too. The lion—Russell was his name—was lovely. The others would definitely not approve, so she definitely planned to tell them all about it!

Bernice decided from then on she was going to live her life fearlessly, no matter what. That’s where she was going to find happiness, in loving her life and approving of her own way to live it.