When I was a junior in high school, I was obsessed with the soundtrack from the musical The Secret Garden. As my boarding school roommate will attest, I listened to that CD over and over and over again. Even now, all these years later, she still vividly recalls my audible obsession.
I’m not sure that the score or the lyrics are particularly brilliant (despite being nominated for a Tony award for Best Original Score), and I’m not even much of a fan of the book. But there was something about the music and words that moved me then, and have stayed with me into adulthood. I often catch myself humming a song and getting a particular chorus stuck in my head.
Or maybe I was just fascinated with the idea of little Daisy Eagan, only a few years younger than me, carrying the weight of an entire Broadway show on her tiny little shoulders. If she could command a Broadway stage at age 11, then perhaps anything was possible?
The one song that gets stuck in my head more frequently than any other is “The Girl I Mean to Be.” Mary sings this song to open Act II:
I need a place where I can go,
Where I can whisper what I know,
Where I can whisper who I like
And where I go to see them.
I need a place where I can hide,
Where no one sees my life inside,
Where I can make my plans, and write them down
So I can read them.
A place where I can bid my heart be still
And it will mind me.
A place where I can go when I am lost,
And there I’ll find me.
I need a place to spend the day,
Where no one says to go or stay,
Where I can take my pen and draw
The girl I mean to be.
Often I still feel very much like that 16-year-old girl who was just trying to find her place in the world, which is why I think these lyrics have stayed with me for so long.
I struggle with keeping so much hidden and private, out of view from anyone. I’m still searching for my authentic self, looking for my own voice.
In writing this blog, I want to give voice and space to all the things that I keep hidden inside. I choose to do this under a pseudonym, as I want to let it all out, and I’m trying to circumvent the brutal, unforgiving editor that lives in my head.
I am going to plant a garden, but I don’t want it to be a secret any longer.
When a thing is wick,
And someone cares about it,
And comes to work each day, like you and me,
[spoken] Will it grow?
DICKON [spoken]: It will!
Then have no doubt about it,
We’ll have the grandest garden ever seen!!
Welcome to my garden. Let’s see what grows.