Priya Khosla: Making Space for Others and for Yourself
Photo above is from one of my current muses: Princess Nokia's music video for her song, Brujas.
When I leave People’s Liberty every day, I pour what remaining energy I have left for the day into new projects and freelance work. My projects are deep dives into my positioning in this community and an exploration into self-identity; it’s my way of testing how I can use design to make space for myself and others like me. I want to make space for women, specifically women of color, to thrive and be empowered. I am grateful to be here, at People’s Liberty, where the people (both team and grantees) are dedicated to creating space for people who don’t have the resources or who don’t have the mental, physical or financial capacity to do so themselves.
Being apart of the PL community unexpectedly taught me how I can start to empower myself to do the same. I want to share a couple of tips I’ve learned while observing the people here:
1. Learn to channel negative energies and anxieties into creating. I personally have strong opinions about certain socio-cultural ideas that are currently floating around and realize that building resentment and hate around people who disagree doesn't do any good. See a problem? Do something about it. Want to get involved? Ask. Force yourself to make connections so you can access the resources you need and create the change and space you need in your world. No one else will do it for you, but they can help.
2. Always say hi, hello, sup; whatever greeting you choose. Why? It dictates the energy of your interaction with that person for the rest of the day. By choosing to outwardly acknowledge the existence of that person, you are showing that their space matters to you. I used to be the type of person who assumed the worst in people so I would never be the one to reach out and say hello. But once I started forcing myself to, my attitude changed dramatically. Because of this change, I’ve been exposed to more productive opportunities from just saying "how are you" vs. keeping my head down, focusing on myself or my phone.
It’s really hard at first; making changes within yourself. I’ve been struggling with manufacturing productive and positive mental attitudes for years but it’s finally paying off. (Shout out to owning mental illnesses in the professional world!)
Working at People's Liberty, surrounded by the type of people I strive to be has helped. Surround yourself with people you can learn from, who challenge you and inspire you. It’s life-changing when you can take the step away from those who hold you back or whose toxic habits and attitudes hold you down.