You asked "Why is it that that every time I try to find some sympathy for something in the past, someone always tries to one up me?"

In the game of who has been hurt most - there are no winners. Its a natural tendency to try to win a competition, be the biggest, be the best. There are times, however, that there are contests with no winners. The contest of the greatest pain is such a contest.

If we can't decide who has been hurt most, we have both lost. Neither of us understand the pain of the other, and we each feel that our own pain was greater. In failing to sympathize with the other person, and letting our own ego dominate we have both lost something.

And if your pain is greater... I know how deeply what I felt has touched me and how much it hurts. Just the thought that someone else that I care about has felt worse and endured more brings a tear to my eye. I can barely imagine a pain deeper, and yet you have felt it. And now, I feel small for thinking what I felt was so grand and profound. I have lost something.

Woo Woo! I won, my pain is the greatest that anyone has felt. Gee, thats nice. I've won, and yet gained nothing. Its not a victory that you can put on a trophy shelf and parade around. The last thing I want is to have people feeling sorry for me and treating me special because somewhere back when something happened. It is much better just to get over it and become a better person - respect me for who I am now rather than what has happened in the past. In the 'victory', I have lost something.

Can't we just put the past behind us... cry on each other's shoulders if necessary and comfort one another? Each of our pains were things of the past, and our joy is of the present. When you tell your story, you're not looking to 'win', but rather for something to hold and rest on - to make it all feel better after it has been aired out... as am I when I tell my story. Together, we both win.

coralinne was exotic and esoteric
long fingers and spicy smells
long skirts and iced eyes
she blew smoke rings down his throat
and took his wallet back to SoHo

mary sweet mary built arrangements of flowers
and castles of clouds
and three months before the wedding
she built a bed
for his best friend and herself to lie

samantha worked a bar
and his
said she had the sweetest lips of any girl he'd met
and knew what perfume reminded him of San Juan
So she would wear it
as she drank and drank
and drowned

liz had the softest voice in the choir
and he never heard it until it wrapped around his heart
in a coffee shop lisping Dante
there was no circle of hell
like the shattered glasses and bloody hands she whispered
every night

but she isn't any of them
and he lies in bed and tells her
a marathon list
record time
high score

as he lies there in those memories of all the women he doesn't have
she packs a bag and walks toward the finish line

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