Midnight Confession #28: Big Bangs Baby


WELCOME BACK TO MIDNIGHT CONFESSIONS! It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

Last week in New York, I met up with the kids I used to nanny, the ones who reintroduced me to the word “babyish.” Well, with two of the three: one, who is in college, was on a trip to Washington D.C. Two of them are actually in college now, and the youngest is in high school. This is terrifying to me, but they all grew up to be great, so I’m happy with that, at least.

Until she said so, I’d never once thought of bangs as a childish thing. Bangs were kind of my trademark growing up—hell, they kind of still are! I remember insisting on getting my hair cut into a bob when I was about nine or ten. I was going through an angsty phase, and since I’d had shoulder-length hair all through my childhood, I thought a big haircut would put some distance between me and my past. I wanted to symbolize that I, Mara, was growing up, and was my own person. But it never occurred to me to cut my bangs. In fact, a year or two later a hairstylist on a Made-For-TV movie I was working on suggested we thin out my bangs a little because they thought it would suit the character, and just the thought gave me a panic attack.

I didn’t like change, but I also desperately wanted to grow up. I wonder, are there kids who really like being kids? Who appreciate childhood for what it is? I feel like every kid I knew as a kid wanted to grow up, or at the very least, be a teenager. I couldn’t wait to live a grown-up life, or at least what I understood to be a grown-up life. The only thing I wasn’t looking forward to was having to stand in line for things. (Waiting with your parents at the bank when you’re a kid is agony.)

Funnily enough, the kids I knew who acted the most “adult” (myself included) usually acted out in the silliest, most immature ways when we hit puberty. Think of all the serious children you knew who turned into total geeks as they grew up, the kind of adults who would wear Genius at Work shirts but spend all of our time watching children’s cartoon shows. I went from being a well-behaved, serious child who read Reader’s Digest for fun, to a middle-schooler making lists of “ways to annoy people,” and a teenager who thought there was nothing funnier than just yelling the word “kumquat,” to, well, me. Is it OK to be childish once your appearance is no longer childish? Or did we just realize what we had been so quick to give up?

Still, I like being an adult. Except when I’ve been crying and need new eyeliner at Sephora, and get recognized. Yes, that did actually happen. I have said it before and will say it again, if you’re ever a minor public figure, you won’t ever get recognized when you’re looking and feeling good, you will get recognized only when you are looking and feeling your absolute worst.

Stuff I Did This Week: Tonight I’m monologuing with JV Improv at UCB Franklin for #ThrowbackFriday! I’ll be talking about my experiences at the Golden Globes… as a seven-year-old.

Also, my episode of As Me with Sinead is going up soon! Sinead Burke is a wonderful interviewer and person, and talking with her was a delight.

Fake BBC Show of the Week: A Jaunt Into the Sea (And everyone’s seen this about English Murder Villages, right? Maureen Johnson is a genius.)