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This is my story — as told by Brandon Stanton of Humans of New York.

On June 9th, 2022 my life changed forever after a volunteer from the homeless shelter, where I lived for four months, contacted Brandon Stanton, author and publisher of Humans of New York. He posted a 15 part story of my life. His brilliant storytelling skills, along with his 13 million followers who read, commented, liked, and shared the story, allowed love and support to pour in for days, weeks, months and in fact, it continues to now.

Below you’ll find the images and words that Brandon shared on his Instagram account. Whether you’re reading my story for the first time or reading it again, I hope it encourages you.

“I wasn’t the first preacher’s wife to run away. There had been three more. One met a man on the internet. Another went into a life of drinking; she posted pictures on Facebook. And the third wa

“When I was a little girl there were two records in our house that weren’t church music. One was a single of a kid named Jimmy singing ‘I saw Mommy kissing Santa Clause.’ And the other was Nat

“A month before we got married I was sitting with my husband in a gravel lot behind the old Hidden Valley Catfish Restaurant. He said: ‘Detra, you’re a strong woman. Do you plan on being a submi

“She was a female doctor from the Choctaw Indian Nation. And I could tell that she’d rescued before. She stepped out of the car, slid an arm around me, and found a hand. My husband tried to stop h

“My entire life I’ve been good at following rules. But in New York I didn’t know any of the rules. One time a man touched me on the subway, and I froze. Ever since I was a child—I’ve had a f

“In Brooklyn there was a church with a 300-voice world famous choir. It was mesmerizing to watch. In my old church you weren’t even allowed to raise your hands. But this choir moved, like a wind w

“Every Sunday after my shift at Starbucks I’d eat at a place called Hill Country BBQ. It was the closest thing to Arkansas that I’d found in New York. They had sweet tea. And moist brisket. And

“I thought about what Lucas had said: ‘Let go of all the rules.’ And the very next week I started writing a one-woman show. I called it ‘One Woman’s Journey To Love,’ and it was nothing bu

“It was magic that night. I didn’t miss any lines, or any beats. I sang seventeen of my favorite love songs: ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow,’ Unforgettable,’ ‘Love Look What You’ve Done to

“My first night in the shelter I found a folding chair and sat with my back against the wall. I needed to feel something solid against my back. I didn’t know if there was going to be a bottom that

“I’d always head straight to the gym after my shift at Starbucks. Martin trained me for free the entire time I was in the shelter. He told me that he was going to turn me into a fighter. He was ha

“I was still in the shelter at Christmastime, so Garrison flew in from Arkansas to be with me. We ate a Christmas meal together. We went and looked at the windows on 5th Avenue. And right before he

“The first thing I did when I got a real paycheck was hire a real estate broker. I told him that I only had one requirement. He said: ‘Not in New York. Not at your price point.’ But I told him:

“Lucas volunteered to bring up all my stuff from the storage unit in Arkansas. He was supposed to arrive on a Monday, so the following Sunday I scheduled a final performance of ‘One Woman’s Jour

“I used to smoke sweet tips, because I thought they were feminine. But I’ve learned I like heavier cigars. I’ve learned a lot about myself these past few years. I was put in charge of hiring for




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