When it comes to motivation - there is nothing like a life threatening experience to put you on track. Doretta Watkins’s story is one of triumphs, self-love, and purpose. We asked her to participate in our #WhyWeMove series to learn more about her journey to self-love.
Lukafit: Welcome Doretta! Thank you so much for sitting down with us for a quick chat. So let’s start from the top. Tell us your story. What motivates you?
Doretta: My first and foremost thing that keeps me motivated is keeping in mind that tomorrow is not promised. Life can be taken from you in an instant. Last year I went through 2 surgeries and the first surgery almost took my life. I admit I took life for granted before that incident.
My second motivation is reminding myself that I am worth it, and the more I love myself and discover about myself the better person that I can become for myself and for my loved ones.
And my third motivation would be my family and closest friends. I cannot be good to them without being good to myself first.
Lukafit: As women of color we are pulled in so many directions and wear so many hats that we can easily lose ourselves in the shuffle. Putting yourself first and choosing the path of self-love is sometimes easier said than done. What are ways you show yourself love and most importantly, how would you define it?
Doretta: I would define my self-love as loving myself enough and being responsible for my own happiness. I show myself love in multiple ways but I start with self-compassion, meaning I do not beat myself up for making a mistake. I do not compare myself to others and I do not put any energy in what others think of me.
I also make time to take care of myself mentally, physically and emotionally. I am fulfilling myself more spiritually. I am living a healthier lifestyle with exercise and clean eating. I am learning more and more about and implementing natural healing.
I decided that I would no longer wait until I thought a time was "perfect" to travel and see the world. I now travel a couple of times a year. I also remove toxic or negative people out of my life (sometimes it’s family too) instead of holding out with hope that they would get better or stop the negative behavior. I do not allow those types of people to steal my joy anymore.
Lukafit: Wow! You have a strong handle on self-love and what it means to you and it’s incredible to see how that love has transformed your life. When did you fall in love with yourself and step into your confidence?
Doretta: I fell in love with myself and became confident in my early to mid thirties. It really was a light bulb moment for me. Literally one day it just clicked for me.
I realized people will pick up on your lack of self-love and confidence and use that to their advantage. Some of my relationships were unhealthy because I didn't love myself enough and they knew it.
The saying that you teach people how to treat you is so true. Once I learned the power of self-love and confidence it changes you and it also changes the people you attract or associate with on a daily basis.
Lukafit: That’s so true. Often our lack of self-love and care makes people think they can treat you any kinda way and it won’t affect you - but it always does. With that being said, as you’ve grown in self-love you naturally build a community around you that focuses on the same things such as fitness and health. What impact do your fitness friends make on your life?
Doretta: This question is interesting to me because when I started my fitness journey and really got into it, I lost friends. I also had friends who were like "dang how skinny are you trying to get." The beauty of it all is I did already have a few associates who were already into fitness but have now become very close and dear friends and awesome supporters.
When I am struggling they are there to pick me up, remind me that even when the scale doesn't move that it doesn't mean I have failed since not all improvements can be measured on a scale. They also cheer on all of my progress. If I don't feel like going they will drag me out of bed or send me text messages repeatedly saying go to the gym NOW until I give in and go, lol! Our fitness friendships have poured over into other aspects of our lives too. We support each other in and out of the gym.
Lukafit: That’s beautiful and awesome to have that support and encouragement. What about family? What role do you think family and community play in your journey to self-love?
Doretta: Family and community members can be very beneficial in the journey to self-love. I believe the stronger the support system the higher likelihood you will be in staying on track and successful in your journey to self-love. When you have people who are interested and/or invested in your well-being they will give their support towards your success.
Lukafit: Absolutely, Doretta! So what’s your quote or mantra that you live by?
Doretta: Narrowing it down to one quote is hard but one that stands out to me is "In the end, we only regret the chances we didn't take, relationships we were afraid to have, and the decisions we waited too long to make."
My life was almost taken from me last year. As I lay in the hospital I started thinking about all of the things I hadn't done, the people I hadn't forgiven, the person I swore I was going to call and never did, the people I pushed away in fear of them hurting me or just things in general I didn't get around to because I always said "oh I will do it tomorrow."
My why is simply because tomorrow is not promised. I don't want to leave this earth with any regrets!
Lukafit: Here’s to self-love, sisterhood, and no regrets. Thanks so much for sitting down with us, Doretta!
Read Doretta’s Story
Last year I went in to have my meniscus, MCL and LCL repaired. One week later I went to the doctor because I wasn't feeling good and the doctor said I might have a blood clot. I was taken to the emergency room immediately where they did discover the blood clot in my bottom right calf.
They put me on blood thinners and monitored me for awhile. The blood clot seemed stable so after a while they released me to go home and told me to follow up with my doctor and that I would probably be on blood thinners for about 6 months but should be ok. I did not have a history of blood clots but they did tell me I was now at higher risk for another. Feeling pretty good I received my discharge papers, got up and got dressed but when I went to put on my shoes...I blacked out.
The blood clot dislodged and traveled to both lungs. I was still in the emergency room but my curtain was still pulled shut so they didn't know I had blacked out. Finally someone peeked in wondering what was taking me so long and found me on the floor. I was immediately admitted to ICU and put on large amounts of blood thinner. I was later told my clots were massive. While on the thinners my knee started bleeding internally (hematoma) but because my clots were so severe they had to make a choice - save my lungs or save my knee.
Well of course the lungs were priority so my knee didn't fare so well. It locked my knee up and they tried aspirating the knee a couple of times with little success. Since I was bed ridden my leg muscles (mostly my quads) started to atrophy. After being in the hospital for a while they decided to move me to a skilled nursing facility since I had lost most movement in my leg and they were concerned I would not be able to take care of myself at home alone. I started off in a wheelchair, then a walker, then crutches to now a cane. They said it was palsy/partial paralysis and was not sure if I would get full feeling and mobility back.
I had a second surgery which has increased my feeling and mobility quite a bit. While I was in the nursing rehab facility I ordered my first pair of Lukafit leggings and I told my son to bring them to me once they allowed me to start wearing clothes again. What they represented to me was motivation to keep going. Seeing images of "us" on them was a reminder to me of how strong we are as black women and that we are fighters and survivors. Since they were fitness leggings as well it also told me to get up and move. Push through the pain.
God chose me to stick around a while longer and I surely don't want to waste it letting these difficult times defeat me.