Each week the Honey newsletter includes a column from women and LGBTQ folks in the South, in collaboration with See Jane Write. We’re always looking for more stories from you. Click here to learn more about how to get published.
By LaTasha Toney
When it comes to my relationships, I want them to feel like home.  To me, feeling like home means to feel like I belong. For years, I have been around people and in spaces where I did not feel like I belonged. Whether it was in the workplace, in church, social settings or even my own family—I have not always felt like I have belonged. And that takes a toll on a person’s mental health.
Maybe some of these feelings were due to my own insecurities. And maybe some were truly an indication of the fact that I really wasn’t welcomed. I’m not for everybody and I’m alright with that.
According to developmental psychologist Erik Erikson from the age of 18-40, people develop the virtue of mature love and during this time grapple with intimacy versus isolation. It is critical that a person has a strong support system during this time. Yes, some people want to be in a romantic love relationship, but that is not the most important part of this stage. There is more to intimacy than romantic intimacy. I’ve been in some spaces that defined intimacy as “into me you see.” In our friendships and relationships, we want to be seen for who we truly are—including vulnerabilities and weaknesses—and not for what others want us to be or even think that we are. Now my coworkers won’t see me like my family or friends. And all of my family or friends won’t see me like my close friends. But it is important to have people in our life who know us for who we truly are.
There are some benefits to having intimacy in our relationships. Some of these benefits include less stress, resilience, longer life, less health problems and less anxiety and depression.
When I heard about former Miss USA Chelsie Kryst’s recent death by suicide, I could not help to wonder if anyone really saw into her, knew what she was going through, and understood how she was feeling. She seemed to be a phenomenal young woman. So many people were inspired by her life and all that she did. But I wonder if anyone really gave her the space to just be. So often there’s this pressure to perform and be great in the eyes of others. But so often we as women just need to have spaces that feel like home.
Lately I have been intentional about nurturing and creating these spaces for myself. Some of those spaces have been in existence for years. Those spaces are my close friendships and some family members; people who see me for who I truly am and not just what I’ve accomplished; people who celebrate my wins, help me to process my losses and allow me to just be. I am so grateful for the tribe of individuals who I have in my life. To think that at one point, I craved these deep connections but now I have them. Yeh, I’m grateful for this.
Over the last year, I discovered a faith-based virtual group that meets each weekday. Over the last month, I have been more intentional about connecting with this group. The connection helps me to start each day with joy.  I have never met any of these women, but the connections that I’ve formed with them has truly been God sent.
I have a therapist who I can work through my insecurities with, learn how to create a sense of home within myself and just accept myself for who I have been, who I am now and who I am becoming. If you find yourself struggling with developing intimacy, I definitely recommend that you connect a therapist. My therapist helps to identify my own blind spots and work through issues that I might not be willing to acknowledge or can acknowledge but struggle to move past.
But most of all, I have learned to be at home with me. I have all these things that I want to do, but I am OK with not completing everything on my to-do list. However there is so much that I have been able to accomplish; and I am grateful. Being home for me is remembering what my values are and sticking to those. I value genuine connection with others, integrity in public and private, freedom to use my time how I want to and rest. Sometimes being at home means just resting, relaxing and being grateful for what I have accomplished and cherishing the current moment. Too often I’ve accomplished something and been so focused on getting to the next thing.
Although we have so much on our shoulders as Black women, we have also accomplished so much. It is essential that we are able to take time to embrace this. It is important that we allow selves to be seen by others. It is important that we connect with others. It is important that we spend time with ourselves, to just be and rest. And when we create a sense of home within ourselves and are honest about how we feel it encourages other women to do the same.
LaTasha Toney is a blogger at where she blogs about faith, mental health and personal development.  She is available for speaking and writing opportunities.


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