At Girl Rising, we believe that storytelling is a powerful tool. It can inspire people to take action and create real change. It can help determine the way we see the world and our place in it. The power of a good story allows the viewer to see themselves in it, by relating to their own narrative; the characters, the struggles, and the triumphs! However, we and our nine amazing women writers, know and sometimes struggle with how to communicate the complexities of someone’s journey.

Kelly Corrigan, author of ‘Glitter and Glue’ and winner of the Nantucket Projects’Audience Award, touches on the complexity of storytelling and exploring the liberating power of acceptance in her talk ‘The Mount Everest of Human Emotions’.

Kelly explores the simplified narrative and how we consume and project it on a daily basis. We fall victim to this idea that our own journey should follow a certain, concrete pattern. She explains that by accepting how complex life can be, we can see beyond this.

“Over all these years trafficking through story, I’ve noticed a little problem, the standard pieces of good story, at least judging by what we teach and by what we reward most handsomely, can get in the way of what I like to call the Mount Everest of human emotion. Which is to say is the very hardest place to get to, but also where the views are life changing, which is acceptance.”

Using anecdotal examples, like her fight with cancer, her mother’s polar opposite approach to life (think Downton Abbey’s Maggie), the recent passing of loved ones, and the typical tumultuous journey of a college hopeful, Kelly explores the liberating power of acceptance and complexities of life with wit and a hyper intelligence of human emotion.

“Life Mount Everest is a really hard place to stay. The air is thin, and I find that I keep falling back to the fight for things to conform to how they should and should not be.

And I think those expectations are established by the conscious and subconscious pull to narrative. It’s glorious arches, it’s promising reassuring internal logic, that like it or not, life refuses to replicate.”

Watch her full talk here and see if you can follow her tips on accepting and stepping outside of simplified narrative (and also enjoy a few laughs)!