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  • Sonja Kirschner

Masquerade for what?

February 28, 2019

“Alaaf”, “Helau” and “Ahoi” y’all! Carnival, the 5th season of the year is starting not only in my German heimat but also in Rio De Janeiro, in Venice and in New Orleans to only name a few hot spots around the globe.


Honestly, it was never really my thing! Of course, as a little girl I enjoyed the princess dress-up and got upset when my mom wanted to break the gender stereotype and mix things up a little by putting me into a pirate costume. But when I grew older I never fully enjoyed the “on demand cheer” which carnival always implied to me. Neither could I wrap my head around many self-imposed dogmas of random kinds some avowed non-believing friends introduced me to during the following fasting time: “I don’t eat any dairy for six weeks.” “Aha, why?” “I don’t know, I just picked it.” “?” And then there is also this other component: my fascination with the ability to fully let go, to go crazy, to not care about how weird it looks but just party and don’t think about the next day – good for you, really! And good for you, to be bold, good for you to scare - nowadays not so much the winter and the evil anymore - but anything you don’t like off, good for you that you overcome social norms and hierarchies, and that you all become “equal in disguise” and good for you to put overly sensitive political correctness aside and to express your feelings about politics and society in the funniest floats during the Monday parades …. Indeed - very meaningful intentions of the carnival tradition and history. It becomes difficult though when the use of masks gets reversed, when we abuse them to build a pleasing façade instead of an intentionally bold and sassy one. It should be easy for you to look into the mirror in the morning and think “That’s me. I’m true to myself, honest with others, I own my actions and therefore, I please myself”. Think about it, isn’t the - for my taste overused – “nofilter” hashtag already a sign of how much we actually got used to concealing, camouflaging and masking things? #nofilter comes with a sense of expressed pride but honestly shouldn’t it be the norm? I hope you’re in a situation – personally and professionally – which inspires you to speak up and voice the things you have in mind, which lets you trust that someone listens and have the impact you intend to have. The latter is only possible if you’re able to look into that mirror in the morning and say “yes” to yourself and to all your behaviors and actions. Politeness and kindness are givens – they don’t contradict! “Alaaf”, “Helau” and “Ahoi” to those of you out there partying and #neverfilter to all of us. Yours Sonja


The author, Sonja Kirschner, is 40 years old, originally from Mannheim, Germany which she left 5 years ago to work and live in the New York metropolitan area. She has worked in different Human Resources roles for 15 years, all of them focusing on the development of people. Currently, she is in the process of getting her coaching certification. She has a master’s degree in Psychology and loves supporting people to reach their life goals. Please leave a comment or send a PM to connect.

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