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
The gardener built the wall
With many good intentions
My dear, delicate blooms
They shall be safe behind this wall
They will never be trampled
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,”
“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,”
“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
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
This flower may be a wallflower
But she’s certainly will never again be hiding
Behind her garden wall.