Life has taught me many lessons and they have come in many forms, such as pain, disappointments, successes and failures. Most of all, life has taught me how to be fearless and unapologetic about who I am and where I am in life. I believe that my best days are before me and God is always beside me, so how could life not come full circle.
You simply have to believe and know that life will always meet you where you are and that a greater force, known as God, will forever create a path for you. However, you must take the time to learn from all the situations you are placed in and align yourself with God daily.
I’ve learned that in order to beat the odds in life you must always take the road less traveled, learn how to be alone without being lonely because that is the only way you will build your foundation and your relationship with God. A part of life’s journey is to figure out who you are, so you can confidently advocate for yourself and the things in life that are best for you.
Thadine and her daughter Azaria
I would say my journey seriously began at age of 22. I became a mother, I was not married, I was a new college graduate, and I did not get my dream marketing job. Nothing that I had envisioned or expected was coming to pass. After a few years of working and not feeling fulfilled I decided that I would have to restructure my life, I knew I was settling and I didn’t want to settle anymore. I knew there were greater opportunities out there for me to obtain. I would need to be fearless at this point in my life in order to create the change that was necessary for my growth. There were three things I decided to do: buy a house, go to graduate school, and move back in with my parents. Moving back home at the age of 26 was not ideal but it was the necessary steps I needed to take to propel me to the next level.
With determination and discipline at the age of 29 and as a single mom, I completed my Master’s degree, I bought a single-family home and I was now in a well-paid corporate position. I was building general wealth for myself and my daughter and God was meeting me in each direction. When I was making sacrifice’s, he was preparing me and opening doors for me. But great rewards can also come with struggles and pain. Two months before I closed on my home, my daughter’s father died unexpectedly. He was my first love, someone who I shared a child with and now he was gone. This was one of the hardest moments in my life. I woke up on days when I didn’t want to, I smiled when simply just wanted to cry and I pushed through because that was the only thing I knew how to do. Processing this pain took years, a lot of faith, and perseverance.
Overtime, healing came and other opportunities presented themselves. After buying my home an organization called Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance (MAHA) which help create the most affordable mortgage in the state of Massachusetts (the same mortgage product I used to purchase my home), asked me to share my story on homeownership. I would share my story of how building wealth was helping me heal and overcoming the guilt of being a single parent. I shared my story at community meetings and larger community events and this became my calling. In 2009, I became a volunteer and an affordable housing advocate with MAHA. I loved their mission; they have helped over 21,000 low-to-moderate income homebuyers (predominantly families of color) become first time home owners in a state where only 30% of homeowners are people of color compared to 70% of Caucasian families. Today I am the vice president of the MAHA board. In 2016, I was the campaign treasurer for a very successful campaign that led Boston to adopt the Community Preservation Act (CPA) (a campaign MAHA brought to the forefront). In 2017, I left my corporate job, and became the first Director of Community Relations for the new Community Preservation Act for the City of Boston.
The Emerging Leader Award from Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA) in December 2018
Today, I feel truly blessed. I just turned forty and God has molded and strengthen me in ways I could have never imagined. I have a fulfilling job, I am the founder and president of my own professional organizing consultant business that I run part-time, and a mother to an amazing seventeen-year-old. I am unapologetic about who I am and where I am because through it all I have remained loyal to myself. I know that in every situation where I have remained stagnate God was teaching me and preparing me for the next level. I know now that life is a series of risks and you face those risks on a daily basis. Sometimes you fail and most times you will succeed, the questions to always ask yourself during those failures are “what have I learned?” and “What was God teaching me in that moment?”
To the young women starting out on life’s journey or those hitting reset to start again, I say to you “Be fearless and unapologetic!” Life indeed will bring you opportunities. Believe it, claim it and let God do it!
My name is Raquel Meraki and I'm a young woman who is on the journey of self discovery and independence.