Somehow, I feel I've grown a lot this week.
I finally, finally sent M the email I've been sitting on for weeks. The one that details what my attorney and I discussed regarding what ought to go into the divorce decree. The first he's heard that I'm asking for alimony. As soon as I sent it, I got this sick feeling in my stomach, worrying about how he was going to react. Then, after lots of support from my lovely tweeps, I finally realized - I don't need to care. Who cares how he's going to react? He chose this! He made a legally binding agreement by getting married to me, and as such, I have every right to ask for alimony. So what if he gets mad? I'm following my attorney's advice, and looking out for myself and my son. Furthermore, what is he going to do about it, even if he's livid? Nothing. Every month that passes makes him getting any sort of custody less and less likely, and that's the only thing that he can do to me. What, is he going to withhold child support? There's something new ;).
I also chose not to care that my sister hung up on me the other day. It sounds silly. It really doesn't seem like a big deal, but I was obsessing over it for hours after it happened. Then I realized - who cares?! I said what I felt I needed to say at the time, and it wasn't rude or hurtful. I stated an opinion and she chose to be offended by it. Whatever. One of my favorite quotes is by Aristotle - he said, "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." Her unwillingness or inability to entertain my point of view, for even just a minute, reflects poorly on her, not on me. And that's that. I will continue to have my opinion while respecting hers; if she can't do that in return, then I'll refrain from going into anything beyond shallow chit chat in our future conversations.
These changes are good; the less I care about what others think, the more autonomy I have. Period.
At the same time though, it makes me uncomfortable.
I hate the thought of "every man for himself." It makes me sad realizing we are all truly alone in this life. I used to vehemently deny this, but having the people you love and trust the most betray you in one of the most horrifying ways imaginable will snap you into reality with astounding speed. I'm realizing that I have to look out for me, because no one else will. And for now, I have the privilege of looking after E as well, but I also understand that it won't last that long. It won't be many years before I'm at odds with him, too. And while I'll still be looking out for him, he won't care so much about me :).
So with all these realizations, here I sit. Learning to be hard, learning to be bitter. Because being soft, being sweet opens a person up to too much heartache. I've felt it, more than once. I've been taken advantage of too many times for the qualities I once prized in myself - caring, generosity, love.
I'm not completely jaded. I realize those qualities still have a place, I just need to be more judicious with them. But still, it makes me sad. I used to believe in being the good you want to see in the world. Actually, I still do.
It's just that I've learned that being that good gets you trampled.