When Carnaval did not happen

Today would have been Carnaval here in Brazil. Walking the near empty streets of Rio, I felt sadness for the world’s greatest celebration that did not take place, for the people who did not have time to let go, lighten up, unravel themselves. I sorely missed seeing all the colorful masterfully crafted costumes, the silly and sexy, the frivolous and elaborate. From youngest to old, everyone would take part in the festivities, sharing a contagion of happiness and letting go, of becoming someone for those magical days of transformation.

The more I thought about what I missed most, the more I realized that it wasn’t even the the party that I craved, but being allowed to show and validate parts of the Self that we often repress. The silliness, carelessness, the sexiness, the wild side. A poor man could become a king for a few days, while a tough executive could let himself slip on a feminine bailarina outfit. Somehow, during Carnaval we are allowed to be and express parts of ourselves that might not be normally accepted by the society, or even by our own egos.

It made me wonder why we needed the permission of Carnaval to surrender to the Self. Why all the hiding, disguising, rejecting of the parts of our who we are that beg for expression.

What if the pandemic came not to prevent us from enjoying ourselves this year, but to enable us through this painful introspection to accept parts of the Self. Maybe it’ll allow us to finally let go of the fear of sharing our real faces with the world and shedding facets of disguise that are choking us to death. To let loose. To allow the vulnerable, unfiltered, deep parts of the self to come up and be seen in broad daylight. To experiment with the new and venture outside of our comfort zones, stepping out of the boundaries of Normal.

It’s scary yet liberating. Paradoxically, it’s also the only way of becoming more real, whole, integrated, letting go of judgements of who we are. Of what we may become. And all the gray zones in between.

And in this pondering, I promised i wouldn’t allow this year to fly by without a ceremony of letting go and becoming. I’ll do it in my own way: by showing parts of me that not everyone might care to accept , but that are mine, belong to me, and feel repressed, unvoiced, unnoticed.

When we hide parts of who we are, putting on our swanky suits and serious faces, we allow the pretense to grow, the falsity to rule the world. We become blind and deaf to the fake, the pretending, the layers of unnecessary things we need to do, be and say to fit in. We perpetuate patterns, societal norms, honor agreements and contracts that make no sense to anyone involved; and we stagnate ourselves in definitions and roles that prevent us from evolving. From building a new society that’s so sorely needed.

Today, on Carnaval, I invite you to open up with me. Let’s take a step forward into the light to show off those parts of ourselves that feel most vulnerable, that have been left behind & undervalued for years. Let’s show others into the depth of who we truly are. Let’s allow ourselves the luxury of experimenting, being, permitting, surrendering to the great call of the ever-changing Self; shedding all the weight that we carry with us in what it means to be a human being, and instead open up spaces for the real Self to shine its true light, to flow with its true essence. To construct a new type of society: one of individuals who are free to chose who they are. Every day. Let’s not let this Carnaval go by unnoticed.