There’s something about a person coming from unimaginable circumstances and fighting their way to peace, happiness and prosperity. Author, philanthropist, and serial entrepreneur Raquel Thomas has done just that. Her critically acclaimed book, “What Becomes Of A Broken Soul” gives you sneak peeks of her journey as it is a compelling and moving storyline that is loosely based off of her life.
Raquel’s story is one of survival, redemption and perseverance. Living through a tumultuous childhood in the midst of a drug-ridden environment, being placed in the foster care system, and surviving a suicide attempt are only a few of the odds that were stacked against her. Today, Raquel has two college degrees under her belt and is the owner of five successful businesses as well as a non-profit organization that prepares young people for college or assists them with securing a trade.
She chatted with us and gave us some great entail on her intriguing book and fascinating story.
Q: Tell us a little about “What Becomes Of A Broken Soul” without giving away too much.
A: It’s loosely based off of my life and tells the story of a little girl named Rachel who endures a rough life as a child, living in a home with parents who used and sold drugs while being neglected for much of the time. She overcomes all of that and grows up to become a successful businesswoman. However, she tends to run away from her relationships with men as soon as she hears the words “I love you”. While at the height of her career, she meets a man who she really likes and she has to find a way to deal with her past issues so that she can receive the love that this man is trying to give her.
Q: There are countless women who have that same narrative. Many are still running from past wounds that ultimately prevent them from having healthy relationships with men. What would you tell these women?
A: I’d tell them that learning to love themselves is most important. You have to be able to love yourself before you give love and receive love to and from someone else. You also have to know who you are and want you want. Lastly with relationships, you have to be willing to love your mate the way that they need to be loved instead of loving them the way that you want to love them.
Q: Can you tell me about a time when you felt like giving up and how you pushed past that urge?
A: Being placed in foster care was definitely a low point for me; then attempting to take my life because of it. That was a turning point for me because when I woke up, I knew that I wanted to live. In that space and in that moment, I realized that there was so much more to life and I became very focused on pursuing that. I started to do the work to get out of the hell hole that I was living in. I started making sure I made good grades. I started playing sports. I started preparing for college. I fully got it together.
Another low point was when my grandmother who raised me passed away less than 30 days before I graduated undergrad. I remember doing all of the work for me and my grandmother. It was all for us; so that I could buy her a house and we could travel. We were going to do all of these things and she suddenly gets diagnosed with stomach cancer after not even getting so much as a cold in her 80 years of life. So, when she passed, I wasn’t going to walk across the stage because I felt like there was no reason to because my grandmother wasn’t there. My father actually reminded me that it was me who had showed up and did the work and that I should walk across the stage for ME. That’s exactly what I did.
Q: There may be some aspiring writers in our audience who have personal stories that they’d like to share in a book, but maybe are too afraid to do so because of what others involved might think of them, or because they don’t want to cause any tension with their family members or friends. What advice would you give them after going through that yourself?
A: In African-American families, there’s this standard rule that we’re told as kids that says “you don’t tell what’s going on in this house”. So, when I decided to tell my story, there was a lot of shame from my family and not very much support at all. When I told my story, I told it all. I didn’t try to tell bits and pieces. I talked about the things I did to get to where I am today. I talked about being a dancer and entertainer through college. It’s part of my story; and while it’s not something that makes me feel good about myself, it doesn’t make me feel bad about myself either because it was me doing what I had to do. So, you’re going to have to be OK with other people’s reactions because that is what happens when you tell your story. People are going to get upset when it’s not positive because it may not be their version of what happened. But that’s OK. It’s YOUR story.
Learn more about Raquel’s story, her businesses and how to grab her book “What Becomes Of A Broken Soul” at www.raquelrt3.com