I spoke to you in cautious tones
You answered me with no pretense
And still I feel I said too much
My silence is my self defense
Some of you have noticed I’ve been posting songs and tagging them #For Lizzie. I typically refrain from talking about Lizzie’s inner world; my posting of these songs is the most that I have broken from that position until now. I have also not discussed my acting process, which I’m going to do a little bit here, so if that’s not something that interests you, stop reading now. (You can still listen to the song. I know I never say no to Billy Joel.)
Our last shooting day (eps 93-100) was an interesting challenge because Lizzie is having a very internal struggle that she is trying (though sometimes failing) not to share with her viewers. She knows who one likely viewer is, and she’s terrified of her feelings for him, convinced that he doesn’t return them and she should get over him. She doesn’t do a great job of that. Lizzie is sometimes blind, willfully so, in this case I think, because the truth scares her too much. There is too much at risk.
As I prepped for the shoot day, I put on a mix of emotion-evoking songs I started making years ago (and add to periodically), skipping through and listening to the songs that hit me in a meaningful way for Lizzie. I have been posting some of these songs; others include songs about losing people, being hurt, and saying goodbye. I had to pack a whole month of Lizzie losing sleep, crying, feeling frustrated, being in denial, feeling confused, angry, hopeful, scared, trying to distract herself, etc, into that last shoot, all while she tries to deny her feelings to everyone, most importantly herself.
I was struggling with the moment in ep 98 when Darcy tells her that he took down the website for her. In the book, she is silent, and he proceeds to tell her his feelings haven’t changed. In our version, afraid he’ll think her feelings come from a sense of debt, she searches for words and comes up with, “My gratitude is there and always will be.” I knew in the moment she wanted to say more but wasn’t sure how, but it still didn’t feel quite right to me. Then, as I skipped through this old mix of mine, I came to “And So It Goes,” by Billy Joel.
But if my silence made you leave
Then that would be my worst mistake
Suddenly, this moment fell into place. To me, this is one of the greatest love songs of all time, because it acknowledges the terrible truth that falling in love with someone, in addition to being wonderful, is saying, “Here, I trust you with this fragile part of me, and I accept that by giving you this part of myself, I am also giving you the power to devastate me.”
In that moment, Lizzie can’t. She’s too scared. The glimmer of hope makes it even more terrifying, and then he says they’re not friends, and she thinks she was right. And then she says she wants to be friends, and almost says more, but still, she doesn’t have the words. Our talkative Lizzie, and she can’t say it. The risk is too great.
So I would choose to be with you
That’s if the choice were mine to make
Then Darcy - dear, brave Darcy - says what she cannot, and she doesn’t have to say anything. Lizzie, who talks through every problem, says nothing, but acts, and says more than any words could with a kiss.
But you can make decisions too
And you can have this heart to break