i thought about writing this for someone else. instructions on how to love me. a manual on how to deal with all things rachel. and then i thought, maybe i should be the first reader. i don't want to be an almost-30-year-old who lacks the ability to know how to love herself best, and i don't like feeling like i need to be explained. but here we are. and we start where we are. also, no one reads this anymore, so it feels safer now. 

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i overreact. like, constantly. i exaggerate and use my sharp words and cry like 70% of the time. the best way to love me through that is to listen hard, with your whole self. just listen closely for anything that might need a little massaging. there's usually a sore spot in my words, even if i don't want to admit it at the time. if you can see it and ask about it tenderly, massaging away the pain, i think that would feel a lot like love.

i'm sensitive. i love words so much, so i take them seriously. i remember all the words you say to me throughout the day, and sometimes they stack up like bricks on my chest until everything just comes crashing down. i think the best way to love me through that is to be mindful of the words you say to me throughout the day. spend time thinking about what they might feel as they're hurled towards me, and see if you can marinate them in honey instead. 

i'm sad a lot. sometimes it takes form as depression, when all i can do is lay in bed. sometimes it takes form as anxiety, and my body just shakes and my heart is on fire an everything feels shaky and unstable. when you hold me and press on my chest and call me beautiful, that feels like love. that feels a lot like love.

i feel everything so very deeply. it's like i have a sensitive outside atmosphere that acts as x-ray glasses, giving me the ability to see and experience everything around me. this can lead to very exhausting days. i feel most loved when this aspect of my soul is celebrated, not berated. i consider it my super power, and i feel most loved when you do too.

i have a deep history with dishonesty. i've lied some really big lies to people that i loved very dearly. there's no excuse for that, and i feel the weight of those lies every day. sometimes i think maybe it'll feel lighter one day, and sometimes i think i'll be chained to that guilt forever. either way, i have tendencies towards dishonesty, all of which are rooted in my desire to manage everything and everyone around me. i don't know the best way to love me through that; i don't know that i feel deserving of love because of that. 

i like stories. histories. feelings. i like to hear about dreams and passions. i like learning about people - really anyone - but especially those i am closest to. i ask a lot of questions and i prefer eye-contact over screens. i ache for conversations. to love me in this way is to share your insides with me. 

i am desperate to make my life matter. i feel loved when that aspect of my heart is known, celebrated, and supported. 

i guess what i am saying is this: i have a lot of layers. i carry multitudes within me. i am messy an selfish and sad, but i am also kind and compassionate and empathetic. i have learned to hold space for all of my parts to co-exist, and i feel most loved when you allow that too. 

i'm just like anyone else; i just want to be known. i hope that isn't too much for you.