All Photos via @humansofnewyork

Despite the fact that Paris has been through quite a lot in the past few years, poignant and empowering humanity thrives and blooms in many unique storylines throughout the city yet. If you haven’t heard of Humans of New York, immerse yourself in the colorful collage of culture and life as seen by many different people. Although home base of the account is usually New York City, this past week has featured stories from Paris, France, and almost completely women at that.

Here are some touching words from some compelling human beings that will make you feel like you’re not alone in this journey called life…

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“My father is schizophrenic. As a child I lived with him every other week. During those times I acted like a second mother. I did everything for him. I’d make all the decisions—even the difficult ones. He lived in the past. He’d bring up fights he had during his childhood. And he was paranoid. Mostly he was paranoid of losing me. He’d call me his ‘soul mate.’ His ‘sunshine.’ It was all very confusing. I was only ten years old. The most hurtful thing was seeing him destroy himself. He was capable of getting a job, especially when he took his medicine. But he was always drunk. He had a lot of homeless friends that took advantage of the situation. They’d take his money. They’d sleep over. And I was the one who had to kick them out. Everything was on my shoulders. I was losing weight. I couldn’t concentrate at school. Eventually I decided I couldn’t take it anymore. One night he got so angry that I locked myself in the bathroom, and I stopped talking to him for four years. No more worrying. No more headaches. I felt a bit guilty, but mostly I just felt free. I could work on my own problems. I could learn about myself. I’m seventeen now, and we’ve started talking again recently. But on my terms. I decide when I want to see him. It’s still complicated, but it’s easier. Because I’ve learned to accept that my father has no interest in improving his situation. And that it’s not my responsibility to make him.” (Paris, France)

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“I’ve made my name now. I’m a journalist. I live in a nice neighborhood. But it was hard growing up in Paris as a black girl. I’m from the island of Martinique. It used to be a French colony. There were no jobs on our island, so I came to study in Paris at the age of twelve. Things were very difficult. I was one of the only black students at my school. There was a lot of racism. One teacher especially made my life difficult. She taught economics. It wasn’t my best subject because I was more interested in literature, so occasionally I’d talk to my friend during class. And the teacher failed me for ‘disrespecting her.’ She told me to go back to ‘the coconut islands.’ She said I’d never amount to anything in life. I ended up pursuing a more artistic path. And a few years later I became the principal dancer in a big musical. It was a showcase of music from my island. Many famous musicians participated. I convinced my white friend to invite that economics teacher to the performance. She had no clue I was involved. When the show was over, I walked straight into the audience, found her seat, and asked: ‘Does this count as doing something with my life?’” (Paris, France)

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“I don’t know why my mother hated me. She had a sickness that you could not see. But she convinced me that I was sick. And that everything was because of me. And that I’m a monster. She criticized everything. My way of eating. My way of speaking. My way of dressing. Anything that brought me joy– she would deny me. If I defended myself, she would hit me. I was terrified of lunch and dinner because that’s when I had to face her. I spent my entire childhood alone. I just played with my cats in the garden. Or sat on the floor of my bedroom. I’d try so hard to leave my body because I didn’t want to be on earth. And that’s when the spirits and fairies would come to me. Even Mother Mary came to me. I was never afraid of them. They’d comfort me. I remember being seven years old, sitting alone beneath a tree, talking to the fairies. Another little girl walked up and asked what game I was playing. That’s when I realized nobody else could see what I was seeing. And it’s been a very lonely existence since then.” (Paris, France)

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Today in microfashion… (Paris, France)

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