There came a time when I had to learn. I had to learn this lesson quite so challenging as it were. I had to learn to let go. I never really had learned this, really. Being the typical Sagittarius with a Taurus moon, I do prefer to have a plan. I’d like to know what’s going on. Read: I like to be in control of the situation. I do. I really do.

If I am in control, I can decide what happens next. I can decide what I will feel next. Right? Wrong.

The truth is, I did not really plan for the sort of life I have right now. But I do not think I was mourning or sad over what I lost; I think I was sad over the loss of control over a situation. The loss of control is what got to me. But then, here’s a tidbit for you: often, we cannot control the situations in our lives.

I’ll tell you a story.

Back when I commuted into the city 25 years ago, I’d often take the PATH train into Manhattan. There was an older gentleman who rode the train, asking for money and donations for a local homeless shelter. He’d come on the trains, and he’d say, “Anyone can become homeless! Anyone can lose a job, or become sick, and not be able to work anymore!”

And this is sadly true. We are not often able to fully control the situations that come into our life. And I always figured that I could. Having lost my spiritual faith for over a decade, I had held on to the idea that I could control things. That only I was the one that determined my fate. That if I worked hard enough, I could control my life. My life was in MY hands, not some pie in the sky spaghetti monster. And partly, this is true. But I do like to have a faith that there is more out there than simply a mathematical scientific way of seeing the world. Perhaps there ARE fairies. Maybe there IS more out there than just what I see with my physical eyes.

Relax, this is NOT a religious blog post, as I am not nor ever will be a religious woman. At all. This is about learning to let go. About really learning to love yourself. I think real love is an appreciation. When you love someone, it isn’t about how many couples selfies you post, or the flowers they buy. When you love someone, it is about accepting them just as they are. And so, in loving yourself, it isn’t so much about anything other than appreciating yourself. Appreciating the good things in yourself, and accepting the not so great ones. It’s all just a part of who you are. We all play a part in the grand design, and you are a part of that. So when I learned to truly love myself, I let go of all the worry and strife I caused myself. I made peace with myself. Accepted myself in the place I’m at.

Before, all I was doing was worrying. Worrying. Over analyzing. Over thinking. Jumping to conclusion that I’d tell my girlfriend about. Then do it all over again. And again. And blame myself for things that would go wrong. Then feel guilty. It was my fault I was divorced. I wasn’t good enough. It was my fault that relationship ended. I didn’t settle. I should have settled. It was my fault. My fault my mother would call me vergaja de mierda as a child (don’t ask me to translate, I really don’t know how to translate what it means into English. Ask a Colombian person LOL).

I just decided that I’m enough, right where I’m at. I decided to stop fighting it. For years I just was okay with the negative feeling. “Embrace it” some folks say. But you know what? I decided not to embrace the depression. I was depressed for years. I was done. Done with feeling negative and faking the happy feeling for my kids. Done with feeling like I was wasting my life crying over what I wanted to happen that so far had not. Done. I was done. I did not want to “be okay” with the negative feeling.

I’ll tell you another interesting tidbit.

When you do yoga and exercise on a daily basis (no I don’t exercise, I’m a lazy sod. I do yoga tho), your body releases endorphins. As you do this regularly, your body gets used to it, insofar as that when you skip a day, you tend to feel like a big blob. Emotions are the same way. I feel like the answer to depression is getting up and moving, even when you don’t want to. Even if you don’t feel like it. You get up. Take a shower. Do some yoga. Listen to good music (may I suggest Frank Sinatra). Do things that make you feel good. Focus on the good. Be grateful. Appreciate life. Appreciate the good things in life.

And as I continued to do this, I realized… ain’t that bad. Actually, life is pretty fucking dope. You know why? I get to wake up in the morning and breathe clean air and drink clean water. I get to see my daughters every day. I get to have a body that is not only healthy and rarely gets sick, if ever, I get to have a face that hardly ages. I get to have friends that listen and care.

The more good things I pointed out in my journal, the happier I saw myself. I learned to accept my place in life, and embrace the fact that yes, I am now a Jersey girl. After 20 years of being a Nuyorican, I was finally accepting the fact that I now live in NJ. And… isn’t that bad. Gratitude took away the depression I battled for 3.5 years.

I was talking to my niece the other day, and I told her something quite revealing. I told her: depression….it’s like childbirth. At first, it only hurts a little bit. In childbirth, the closer the child is to coming out into the world, the more pain a woman feels. And so for me, it is the same with depression. The closer it is to leaving your body and mind, the more pain you begin to feel. The more things start to come up, things you hadn’t dealt with; it is the universe speaking to you-telling you what you must address. In childbirth however, eventually the child leaves your body, on it’s own will. Sure, you push the kid out. But really, the baby knows what to do, and leaves your physical body. Depression isn’t like that. You can literally be stuck in that painful place of birthing yourself, forever. I chose not to. I got tired of it. Tired of the pain. I decided to be happy, and let things go. Living in the now, as Ekhart Tolle writes in his book. Truly, this is the only way that I was able to see the sunlight again. My younger daughter had a dream one night: that winter was over, and all there was, was spring and summer and fall. And in my life, her dream was quite prophetic. It came true. It was so. Winter is over. Spring is here.