Behind The Garden Wall

Who would know

That the garden existed 

That rows and rows of beautiful blooms

Orange, pink, magenta

Sun-bathed yellow, sky blue

Lived happily and in harmony

If no one had ever looked

Behind the garden wall?



Who could have known

All that I could be

If I had never broken free

From my filter of lead

Built by Shyness

And Insecurity?



The gardener built the wall

With many good intentions

“My flowers 

My dear, delicate blooms

They shall be safe behind this wall

They will never be trampled

Or picked

Their petals 

Never to be plucked,

They shall still bathe in the light of the sun

And dance in the rain

Embrace the rich soil

And they shall be safe,

Yes, very safe

And I will enjoy them all the same.”


Whispering sweet nothings into my ear,

Shyness told me of how happy I would be

Behind my filter of lead.

“You will be safe,”

It murmured,

“Yes, very safe,

From all those that could trample your spirit

Judge your every word and whim

Pluck your soul from your body 

And poke and prod it till it exposed all your secrets

Your endless longings

Your deepest wishes

Your darkest fears

And this is what they would choose

To torture you with.”


For a time,

All coexisted peacefully and happily.

The flowers, the gardener, and the garden wall.

They shared the light of the sun,

Drank in the rain,

And rested in the soft soil.

But this was not destined to last.


I did as Shyness said,

And remained behind my filter of lead

Whom few could look over

And few words could pass through.

Shyness was right

I was safe 

For a while

And that was enough...

...But only for a while.


“Gardener! Dear Gardener!”,

The flowers cried one day.

“Yes, my pretty blooms?”,

The gardener replied.

“We love you oh so much,

But we must speak true: 

Please take down the garden wall,

Yes, that is what we ask of you.

We want to be seen by smiling faces

All of the unfamiliar passers-by,

So that young and old, 

One and all

May know of our true beauty.”


I was safe

But not content

I knew all saw my filter of lead

I knew they saw and did not understand,

When they asked,

 I could only point and say,

“It’s Shyness’ fault that I’m this way.”

I realized that something had to change.

The gardener replied to the flowers

Sad and sullen and hurt



Not a chance!

I will never take down the wall,

 For I need to keep you safe.

Please believe me when I say

It is so much better to be safe

Than seen at all.”

And the flowers could do nothing but comply. 


I finally got the courage one day

To walk right up to shyness and say

“I don’t want this anymore”,

But just as I was about to explain

Shyness brought Insecurity to keep me from waning.

“Don’t be a fool,”

It said. 

“You know how they would hurt you if they saw you.

Do you really think

You even deserve to be seen?

This filter of lead is all you have now,

And all you will ever be.”

And hard as I tried,

I found that I could do nothing but comply.


The flowers understood 

The Gardener’s reasons,

They too wanted to be safe

But their desire To be seen

Was so much stronger.

So one by one 

They stretched their stems skyward

And let their roots grow like vines

Until they finally pulled themselves

Up and over 

The garden wall.


Shyness and Insecurity 

Had often told me

Of the many risks that came

With living a life

Without a filter of lead.

But I had come to know

The many risks that came with living with one.

Feeling stifled, small

As though I was my own prisoner

Because I was not being seen for who I really was

My filter was who they all saw;

But they didn’t see me.

I tried my best to fight,

To beat down the wall with my own two fists

Insecurity watched 


As my hands bled.


I gazed down at my bloody hands and bruised arms

The truth dawned on me:

If I wanted to be set free, 

I had to invite others behind the wall with me.

So I helped them over the wall

Through the filter

And the ones who stayed

Didn’t judge or hurt me

They showed me the good in me

The parts that I needed to show to the world

The true value that I had

And the love and friendship

That I had always been looking for.


Today my filter

Isn’t made of lead

Instead, it’s as light as a veil.

I can throw it over my shoulder 

Whenever I want to say what I feel

Showcase my unique charm and wit

Or put my talents on display:

Writing, art, music,

Even getting up on stage isn’t as much of a challenge

Not anymore.

This flower may be a wallflower

But she’s certainly will never again be hiding

Behind her garden wall.

This poem is about: 


Need to talk?

If you ever need help or support, we trust for people dealing with depression. Text HOME to 741741