Prarthana shares her story of accepting herself and spreading the love of inclusion through social media with Girl Power Talk.
Could You Share a Little About Yourself, Your Passions, and Your Advocacies With Us?
I’m Prarthana. I share my experiences as an Indian lesbian on internet platforms and social media. I make videos, write stuff down, and crack a lot of jokes about everything that feels like a problem because humor always helps.
What Inspired You to Start Your Journey on Social Media? What Are Your Future Plans for This Aspect of Your Career?
I wouldn’t ever call being on social media a career. It is more of a passion project and a personal outlet for creativity. I think expecting anything more from it would just put too much pressure on it and take the fun out of it. So in terms of future plans, I would definitely want to keep creating content that feels genuine and right to me. Perhaps more videos that are assuredly on schedule but nothing more. I’d also love to use my platform to create more real-life events and spaces that are queer-centric for the LGBTQIA+ community in my city. A queer supper club is definitely a dream I’m nursing.
Is There a Person Who Has Inspired You on Your Journey?
See, that’s the problem with it. Inspiration is usually found in people who reflect some part of you and live their lives at a higher level that you want to aspire towards. There are hardly any people that reflect identities like mine, to begin with. Someone who’s an Indian lesbian and loves presenting themselves in a masculine fashion? There’s hardly any inspiration for that. But truly, the first time I saw that reflected back at me was when I came across Menaka Guruswamy. She’s a senior advocate at the Supreme Court of India and was one of the leading lawyers in the case that decriminalized Sec 377 in India. Well-spoken, well dressed, and literally fighting for the rights of an entire community in our country. It was like a lifetime’s worth of inspiration fell on me all at once and I loved watching her and her partner speak in videos and reading about them.
What Is One Issue You Are Passionate About and Advocate For, Which You Wish People Would Understand More?
One issue I am passionate about and advocate for, which I wish people would understand more is undoubtedly the social acceptance of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Constantly Creating Great Content Can Take Its Toll. How Do You Address Your Creativity Blocks and Create a Balance?
I don’t think creativity blocks are usually my problem. Belief in my ideas and the will to work at them daily without letting procrastination get in the way are usually the challenges I face with making videos and writing. It is easy to keep telling yourself that what you choose to do matters. But it is hard to always feel complete faith in it and keep going. I try my best to treat content creation as something I do for myself. So I take my time and try not to pressure myself too much. If I started doing it on a strict schedule or for other people, I would definitely lose out on my creativity.
What Are Some of the Challenges You Had to Overcome in Your Journey? How Did You Do So?
I think I’ve always been a very negative person. I believed that pessimism made me wiser and less prone to folly. I prided myself on my pessimism. My generation or at least some portion of us, love to wallow. We look at the world and think it is ruined. Climate change and social injustices and bad governments. Pandemics and wars and mental illness. We think we’re living in the worst possible time. But it is not true. The world isn’t going to end and everything isn’t pointless. Every generation has a tough time, every generation witnessed horrible events that shook the world. But fixing it or even surviving it can only happen when we look after ourselves. It can only happen by living our lives for ourselves first. Then we can be capable enough to endure the rest of the world, even make it a little better. It took finishing off college and living through the pandemic to realize the world is quite amazing and I can always get what I want from my life. All success has only been achieved by believing success is inevitable and the hard bits are survivable. Optimism and hope are a new look for me but it works much better.
What Is Your Advice for the Youth Who Are Trying to Find Themselves?
You’ll never find yourself if you listen to someone else about what you need to do. No matter who it is that gives you advice or tells you what to do, friends or family or teachers or role models… make sure it fits with what you truly want. And the only way you can know what you truly want is if you spend time with yourself. Be disconnected from the world, maybe even bored out of your mind. But just sitting by yourself or taking yourself out for a walk and thinking is never a waste of time. It’ll give you insights into listening to yourself and doing what you want. Most of the people I’ve ever heard of or come across just spent years undoing or regretting decisions that someone else made for them. Career decisions, education decisions, relationship decisions.
I can’t emphasize this enough, your life is yours to live. No one else is going to have to live by those decisions if they make them for you, only you’ll have to live with it. So make sure they’re your decisions.