Storytelling is part of our DNA

For the past six months, we have enjoyed the enthusiasm and fresh perspective of our intern Ymke. In a series of blogs, she shares her experiences on the power of stories and storytelling. Part two: there is no single way to tell stories, just use whatever you have.
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Nov 2, 2022

By Ymke Knaap

I don’t believe there is one ‘right’ way to tell stories. But I am learning so much through my studies and the internship I am doing at Perspectivity, so this is my best attempt to understand my learning journey and share it with you. I want to share with you how I learned to tell stories, or actually how I’m still learning to tell stories, because I will probably always be figuring things out. Storytelling is something we all do, it’s human. I think it’s our way of trying to understand the world around us. It’s how we create bonds, how we make each other laugh, it’s part of our history and DNA. As a species, we are addicted to stories. Even when the body goes to sleep, the mind stays up all night telling itself stories.

Ways of expressing yourself

I have learnt that there is no format or right way to tell a story. Everyone has their own unique form of expression. I am currently very involved in writing stories and then also personally writing about stories because of the internship and related research I am doing. But more recently, I have been exploring and trying out an old interest of mine: photography. The joy and satisfaction I get from that fuels more inspiration and ideas to express myself.

I think we all speak the language of enthusiasm, whether we realise it or not. There’s something about excitement, you can see it in people’s eyes. I think this is why children’s joy seems to be something that adults spend their lifetimes trying to rediscover. Now that I am (becoming) an adult, I feel an intense pressure to establish myself in the world and have a sense of safety and security. But I am also learning to connect with my younger self and see what her needs are. And as with most people, that is to be heard or seen and acknowledged just the way you are. Accepting myself the way I am is still an ongoing process. But experimenting with new ways of expressing myself has opened the door of playing.

Share your story with pride

“If I don’t have red, I use blue”, said Pablo Picasso. Use whatever you have, the tools to tell and share stories now are so accessible. Think of the internet, the amount of content out there on many platforms, it’s absolutely saturated. That means there are also a lot of crossovers, very specific communities that otherwise would never have met. And how do they connect with each other? By sharing their experiences, knowledge and stories. The most expensive equipment won’t make you stand out or be relatable, it’s all about how you can tell a story. I recognise the privilege of having the money and time to use these tools, but that is also partly the reason that I want to help others share their stories. This privilege has also sometimes led me to believe that my own story is not ‘good’ enough, because others have more struggles or lack basic human rights in their lives. This is a learning journey of appreciating and accepting my own story and sharing it with pride. I think this is a great first step.