Posted in My Lenses on Life, Poems of Bliss

Fighting for Freedom Still: Juneteenth Then and Now

Though we come from struggle and marginalized institutions, with our strength pulsing through our fists, we birth something beyond the struggle. Happy Juneteenth! #blissfulart

To not know freedom is real.

Imagine the jar lid opening but never knowing freedom.

The chains are broken but how to be free: that is the question

Well, we thank God each day for another day

Though violence, genocide, lynching, Jim Crow, and segregation, we resist and we rise.

Though the powerful seek to erase us and our history, we persist.

We fight and we try…and try.

We lift our heads to the sky though society says we belong in the ground

Though Juneteenth was monumental then we still encounter modern forms of oppression

High incarceration rates, racial discrimination, voter suppression, hate crimes, black maternal mortality rates, disparities in society…it never stops.

We still resist the stigma, we still want to be free.

We still fight for injustice and we still are fighting for our lives to matter.

But just as our ancestors, we lift our heads to the sky and we try.

And we try.

Blissfully,

Bianca

Posted in Life as Bianca, My Lenses on Life

I Am A Proud Haitian From Haitian Immigrants

June is Caribbean-American Heritage Month and Immigrant Heritage Month.

As I have said before, I am the daughter of Haitian immigrants. I love the Caribbean roots and culture that I come from. The older I get, the more I appreciate the authenticity of being proud of where I come from.

It took me time to understand my parents. They were just modern-old school God-fearing parents. Yes, they allowed experiences but it was lakay, lekòl, legliz (translation: home, school, church). Education was enforced. We were to be good citizens of good character outside the home. I really thought my parents were crazy. But, that changed when I went on a mission trip to Haiti after the 2010 Haiti earthquake. It was one thing to hear stories of Haiti but to experience it brought more perspective. It clicked…my immigrant parents wanted more for me, that is why they pushed so hard.

I always called myself the daughter of Haitian immigrants. I never called myself Haitian…ever. It was not because I was ashamed. I honestly did not say it because I did not think I qualified as Haitian. I was not born in Haiti nor had many experiences traveling to Haiti. I was not fluent in Haitian Creole (I’m learning and trying to speak it more). But also, I had bad experiences where a few Haitian people in the community said and made me feel like I was not Haitian. So, I shut down and let my parents be Haitian.

But, in therapy, one of first things I explored was my racial identity. It was not just being black enough; it was also not being Haitian enough. Damaging experiences of the past made me feel that I was less than worthy to be considered Haitian. Their insecurity was not my weight to carry. That is on them. I even asked my parents:” Am I considered Haitian?” Their response: “Of course you are. Just because you are born here, that does not change that you are Haitian. You are. You come from us. You are Haitian.” That was a relief.

New Affirmation: I am Black and Haitian.

Yes, I am born in America but I am no less Haitian than my parents. No one’s opinion of me matters. My experiences may be different but Haiti runs through my blood.

I am proud to be Haitian and to come from immigrants. It is the essence of me, being created in God’s image as a black, Haitian woman placed in the here and now for a greater purpose than myself.

That’s pretty awesome.

Blissfully,

Bianca

Posted in Life as Bianca, My Lenses on Life

Mental Health Matters to Me

It would be foolish of me not to acknowledge that May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

A lesson God is teaching me is valuing my mental health. A wise person once told me, ” If you have heart issues, you take heart medication. If you have a headache, you take headache medicine. So if you have issues with your brain and mind, why not take care of that too?”

I’m not saying that you need to take prescription medicine (if you feel you need to, seek a medical provider for assistance and resources. no shame if you need it). What I mean is why not take care of your mental health? Your mindset matters in everything you do. The way you move matters based on how you treat your mind.

For me, it has been a journey. For many years, therapy was a dirty word…like rich white people problems or the 90s sitcom, Fraiser was my first impression of therapy. In the African American community and the Immigrant Community, therapy is taboo. You just learn to deal and keep moving and not look crazy. As a Christian, I was told to pray it away.

While it may work for some, it did not work for me. I wrestled with my own thoughts and buried it in the deepest parts of my being. I maintained a facade, a mask of sorts to hide my depression and anxiety. But even that temporary solution failed….

The pandemic really brought me to a head where I could not hide from my thoughts.

But God…

God gave me love and assurance in little things. I would cling to the hem of His garment and hope for better. He gave me the resource of a Black, Christian, female therapist earlier this year. It has helped getting out my feelings, doubts, and insecurities. I can explore different facets of my identity as a black woman and as a Christian. I have learned so much through speaking my truth and using the Bible to fight against the Enemy. My church family and my personal relationship with God helps me navigate my life. Therapy does not negate my relationship with Christ, it gives me more Godly tools to move in my daily life.

I tell my story because I want you to know: MENTAL HEALTH AND THERAPY IS NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OF. I don’t want you to feel shame nor guilt for taking care of your mind. Each person is different in their mental health needs. One is not any worse or any better. If it helps, it helps.

You matter.

Your sanity matters.

Your mindset matters.

Your life matters.

Your mental health matters.

Only you know what you need. Acknowledge what you need. It does not necessarily have to be in-person therapy, there is online therapy. You can get a gratitude journal, listen to soothing music, eliminate toxic people and create boundaries, etc, etc.

Just care for your mind. God gave you this body and this life for a moment in time. So make good use of your time. Take care of your mental soul.

Blissfully,

Bianca

Posted in Life as Bianca, My Lenses on Life

Sharing My Testimony

This was a big step. It was the summer of 2020 after the protests and outcries for justice was everywhere. I wanted to do my part. I sat in my stuff and said to myself, “I can’t hide anymore. I have to be uncomfortable and make people uncomfortable.” But it’s in the most uncomfortable moments where we grow. It was the self-therapy I needed to not hide the repressive thoughts of unworthiness in who I was. It was a release in putting myself out there as fully me. I shared my testimony of things and emotions I felt in my racial identity as a first generation American of Haitian immigrants and Christian.

Remember this is my experience and my story to tell. I own every part of the experiences that have made me who I am today. I grew from that moment and continue to grow. I am a work in progress and learning that my voice matters. So take this with a grain of salt and listen to my words.

Blissfully,

Bianca

Posted in My Lenses on Life

I Exhaled: The Verdict Aftermath

To exhale is an amazing feeling. An intense need to release is human. Our bodies want to feel real. The painful trauma of watching George Floyd’s need for breath haunts me. It took the breathe out of me. Thinking of “I. Can’t. Breathe.”

Being me, a black female of Haitian descent, there are times where I must remind myself to breathe. Though I could tell you the scientific and anatomical methods we breathe, I’m not. The emotional toll of injustice in the country is hard to live through especially when it is your own. Every day feels like a new tragedy, another brother or sister murdered in cold blood and there is no justice for them nor their family. It’s like you almost have to talk yourself out of getting justice because the system tends to diminish our struggle. You can’t breathe in the systems and institutions that make it difficult to breathe.

It makes me numb and hurts to my core. I think of all the people I love who are black. I have a black brother and a black father. It is hard to see them walk out the door. You pray they make it home safely and when they come home, I exhale.

Today, I was shaking when I came home and saw the television on the Derek Chauvin Trial. My body felt a whiplash of anxiety. Nothing can prepare you for a verdict. No matter how many times I tried to calm down, my heart and soul was scared. Chest hurt, pit in my stomach. It’s the stuff that makes you still and unable to function.

But Justice came in that moment. Guilty, Guilty, Guilty. Justice came for the Floyd family.

Then I exhaled.

It’s a weird feeling. You are relieved for justice, sad George is not alive, frustrated at the timeline for justice, unsure if there will be more change, anxious at the sentencing stage, worried if this is the last time justice will be served, empowered that real change is coming, and EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN!

But I will exhale today for George cause he could not. While I am here, I will breathe another breath.

Inhale and Exhale.

Blissfully,

Bianca

Posted in A Breath of Fresh Air, My Lenses on Life

A Humble Entry With A Promised Triumph

It’s interesting seeing grandiose celebrations like America’s Inauguration Day, Bastille Day Celebrations in France, and the Queen’s Jubilee in the UK. The fancy clothing, the pretty horses, the waving of flags, the performances, and the fanfare of it all for one day or moment.

But when it was Jesus, it was nothing of the sort. Compared to the above events, it would actually be underwhelming to today’s standards. There would be no big ratings or live streaming in all news stations and social media. It would not be a trending topic on Twitter. It would be too boring exactly.

But that never mattered to Jesus. Could Jesus have done the grand celebration? Yes. But, He did not. He humbled Himself which attests to His nature and character.

He was the KING but he would not act as an earthly king. An earthly king thought of himself but King Jesus thought about all people. Actually, I believe Jesus wanted to distinguish Himself. Set His Kingdom apart from the empires of the day. His Kingdom would be eternal.

His humanity went beyond a fleeting, grand celebration and entry. For what He was about do would show a grander, more promising eternity for humanity itself.

Happy Palm Sunday!

Blissfully,

Bianca

Posted in A Breath of Fresh Air, My Lenses on Life

Not Luck but God’s Plan

This past week marked a year since the world stopped. The pandemic shifted everything. Everything slowed down. Toilet paper and cleaning wipes were selling out like hot cakes. New cases skyrocketing, Death tolls rising…and rising.

As weeks turned into months, it just seemed like there was no end in sight.

BUT GOD…

God is still God. God had a plan. He knew that the world would stop. God tested us. He is still testing us. And He still has a plan.

It is so hard. I just want things to be normal. But being uncomfortable is the perfect place for God to stretch you.

God stretched me. I had to lean on Him, and not my own understanding. God showed me grace and love. My dog was my saving grace and we spent time together. My family and I were together and were “learning” each other. I had to stop and assess my sanity and eliminate toxicity around me. I had to assess what I cared about. I waited on God and got a job. I decided to take hold of my mental health. I prioritized what is worth my time and what does not.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.-James 1:2-4

We are still in a pandemic. There is so much uncertainty. But, let perseverance finish its work. It takes pressure to make something beautiful. This is not to say pain is great. It’s not. I will be the first to say I don’t like suffering but I know I would not need a Savior if life was perfect.

Hold on, Bliss fam. We will make it. God has a plan. He finishes what He starts. And you can take that to the bank.

Blissfully,

Bianca

Posted in Blissful Favorites, Life as Bianca, My Lenses on Life

What is Black Joy to Me?

Photo by Gilbert Anthony on Pexels.com

Though I talk about black struggles, I want to end the month on a positive note. I want to express my idea of black joy.

Black Joy is:

singing Lift Every Voice and Sing

seeing Black Love

laughing no matter what the situation

seeing black excellence in all facets of society

watching the First African American male being sworn in as President

watching the First African American female being sworn in as Vice President

reading ignorance and racism to FILTH

uniting as one at the voting polls

looking fresh and fly when we step on the scene

seeing Black Fathers love their children

smelling our food

dancing and showing our swag when our song comes on

honoring African Americans legends and heroes who came before us

acknowledging the diaspora of blackness in our world

wearing my hair in various ways

memorializing our resilience through history

living as me though it is hard

This is black joy to me.

Blissfully,

Bianca

Posted in A Breath of Fresh Air, Believe with Bianca, My Lenses on Life, Uncategorized

The Trust You Need

Hello Bliss Fam.

I’m back. I have missed you. A lot has happened. The world is uncertain and going crazy right…am I right?

But in the mist of the chaos, I wanted to come back with the medicine of encouragement and Jesus Christ.

In recent weeks, the Coronavirus has been running its course causing social cancellations, social distancing, self quarantine, new cases each day, and uncertainty in the economy and life as we know it.

God has ways of getting our attention. We can see that clearly. He can strip all the excess and distractions until we are at the end of ourselves. Where we are at the end of our ourselves, God steps in.

God never lets anything happen without a purpose and reason. No season of life is without a lesson.

Trust. Yes, trust.

God is stripping away the physical securities for us to draw closer to Him. It’s like a back to basics. Trust God in every part of your life: your health, your family, your physical body, and your decisions. The things of this world is temporary. It is really clear.

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.-Psalm 9:9-10

It is important to value and be a good steward of the blessings in front of us. Slow down. Take a look around. Value what God has given you. Maybe the lockdown and self-quarantine is the wakeup call. Stop looking at the temporary and look to the eternal: God.

The future is uncertain but God is a certain, constant force to keep living in this day in age. Trust in God. He provides all things and works in all situations. His provision is real and certain.

It’s ok to be scared. We are human. We have emotions but it is important not to stay there. Trust in the God who will comfort and provide in many ways.

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.-Psalm 56:3

Take care of yourself and your loved ones. Trust in God’s unchanging power and provision. God’s got us and will see us through

Blissfully,

Bianca

Posted in A Breath of Fresh Air, My Lenses on Life

The Immigrant’s Christmas Story

Photo by Jessica Lewis on Pexels.com

Imagine a father and expectant mother traveling miles to the father’s homeland to be counted in the census. A child was to be born. It was not the unborn child’s choice to travel to this foreign land but was a part of God’s greater plan. It was God’s will for the child to born in his earthly father’s homeland.

The unborn child’s parents were not accepted with a warm welcome or reception to the finest room/hospital. It was a dark night in a city with no vacancy. But there was a stable and a feeding trough for the unborn baby to sleep in.

Then, the mother delivered the Greatest Gift to humanity.

To some, the long-awaited prophesy was fulfilled. To others, He was a threat and some “foreigner” who came to cause trouble.

But this immigrant child, laying in the manger, was the hope that drew smelly shepherds and kings from other lands. An outcast would save the souls of man.

I wanted to write part of the Christmas this way because Jesus loves the immigrants because He was one. He knows what it was like to have a poor reception and to be counted as nothing. The government didn’t like Him, a child who did nothing wrong but be born. God gave this foreigner, Jesus, an ordained purpose.

So don’t look down at other foreigners/immigrants/ children of immigrants because you don’t know what God can do through them. You never know where angels can be.

The baby Jesus was an immigrant…let that sink in.

Merry Christmas. He is the reason for the season.

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Blissfully,

Bianca