Things I Wish my Co-Workers Knew

Things I Wish my Co-Workers Knew

Claire is in Week 9 of the Youth Employment Program.  We invited them to write about their experience at In Her Shoes.  We are humbled that they would trust us with this raw and eloquently written piece.


For a long time, it didn’t work. A swallow that never learned to fly. A truck without tires. I was a body someone forgot to put a person into. I would try to be Hollywood-happy, even just a small slice of it. I practiced the steps; parties, sunrises, singing out loud to the radio. 

I was empty. Happy just bounced right off of me. Even great moments felt hollowed out. If I looked too hard at the “happy” it would crumble away.

What worked was settling for good enough. No, life wasn’t going to be wonderful, but it was going to be bearable. I remember thinking one day; my happy will never be as happy as everyone else’s.

Honestly, my happy didn’t come from Christmas. It didn’t come in warm cups of tea at sunrise. The hole in me was too large to be sewn shut for longer than 12 hours. I wanted to get better, but I was exhausted from trying to fill myself up.

Then one day, I found a flyer among a cluster of pamphlets. “In Her Shoes - a training and employment program” it read. A workplace for people who need to get back what was once theirs. I applied as soon as my hands could reach a computer. The call back made my chest vibrate - I had started my journey to become myself again.

Working at In Her Shoes has been the best silver lining I’ve seen on a cloud. I am treated like I am worthy regardless of whether I am a broken glass or not.

I was sipping my coffee today when I realized I was more than okay. I wake up good. And that good has progressed into happy as the weeks pass. So far the happy has lasted, bone-strong, steel thick. Unbending. My life still has bad things in it. But the friends I’ve made at In Her Shoes are sealing the hole and making the healing stick.

Some days now, I am Hollywood-happy. Coworkers make me feel my laughter in a place I didn’t know sunshine could reach. I no longer mime excitement. The excitement is true.

I may not be, you know, as happy as everyone else’s happy. But these days I wake up in the morning and I feel… Good.


  • Murray Jones

    Claire, you have shared from deep within it was beautiful and so many people will relate to your truth. Thank you for sharing so honestly being vulnerable is not easy

  • Pauline Finch

    Claire’s words are powerfully eloquent; so inspiring. Thanks a million for this!

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