Maybe it was the parents that told me I could never really do my job with college students well because I didn't have children of my own.
Maybe it was the never-ending musical chairs as I'd rearrange myself at dinner tables to avoid splitting up any newlywed couples.
Maybe it was the friend who said, "You're just not in my orbit anymore," when we discussed the change in our friendship as she began a new relationship.
Or maybe it was the discontent inside my own head and heart that caused me to turn anyone and everyone who had what I wanted into the enemy.
And so, when they innocently said, "until you have children yourself, you won't understand," I heard, "you can't possibly know what real love feels like."
When they wistfully commented, "you must have so much time on your hands without a family to take care of," I heard, "you're all alone. how pathetic."
When they off-handedly remarked, "we had couples night last night," I heard, "we've graduated into the grown-up club now, but don't worry, I'm sure you'll make it in one day."
(No one will be hiring me for my translating skills anytime soon.)
And so I had to be angry with them mostly because I was afraid they were right.
Maybe I couldn't really understand love until I had a husband or children of my own. Maybe I was selfish and pathetic and that's why nobody picked me. Maybe I really did want to be in their stupid grown-up couples club, but I couldn't let them know. I didn't want them feeling sorry for me, after all.
But the worst part was that I was creating a pretty bleak future for myself if the very place I wanted to end up was in "enemy territory."
And so at some point I had to acknowledge that the enemy wasn't "out there" somewhere in my friends and family. The enemy actually lived somewhere inside of me. It was my own fear. My own insecurity. My own disappointment and my own pride. And the enemy was causing me to hear their (mostly) well-intentioned remarks through the filter of defensiveness and self-preservation. Instead of leading me toward the relationships I wanted, the enemy was destroying the ones I already had.
Peace doesn't always come by giving up the battle. Sometimes peace comes by knowing what to fight.
Kelly is a dreamer, creator, and world traveler who loves to find magic in the smallest moments. She writes about faith, life, and struggle and most days she tells the truth. Her one vice would be diet coke, but she maintains she can quit at anytime. She shares her story in hopes that somebody else can say, "me too." You can find her at www.kellychadwick.org, on twitter, and at her etsy shop, un:caged creatives.