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I'm a stump. And proud of it.

Posted by Elizabeth Comeau  January 30, 2012 08:31 AM

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On my playlist this morning: Thriller by Michael Jackson
What I did: Ran (45 minutes) Weights (15 minutes)

Anyone who knows me, knows that I take after my mother in many ways.

She's outgoing, honest, and blunt. Once an English teacher, she insisted growing up that I should know about what was going on in our world (it's your fault that I'm a journalist, Mom!).

She also has a knack for explaining life in a unique way.

Today at the gym, as I was struggling to push my numbers on the treadmill to match the tall, lanky beanpole runner guy next to me, I could hear my mother's voice in my head.

"You're a stump," the voice said.

I was in middle school (pre-contacts and right in the midst of braces and bad hairdos) the first time my mother told me I was a stump.

I remember the conversation going something like this:
Me, in tears because I couldn't borrow a tall, thin friend's clothing: "I'm so fat and ugly and short (to this day I'm still only 5' 0")."

Mom: "Elizabeth, you are many things, but fat and ugly you are not. You are, however, a stump."

Me: (In shock and horror) "Mom!"

Mom: "What I mean is that in this world there are stumps and there are willows (as in Willow Trees). You are a stump. I'm a stump, too. You will never be a willow. And that is perfectly OK."

While I didn't quite understand what she was trying to say at the time, I came to realize years later (after the stump phrase had become a running joke in our household) that my mother was trying to tell me not to worry about being like everyone else. She was trying to tell me to be the best darn stump I could be. And to stop competing with everyone else.

So while I may not be the fastest runner, best biker, or person with the most attractive butterfly stroke, I am doing the best that I can.

I never did catch up to the guy on the treadmill next to me today. But I ran a personal best.

See. Stump. Run.

Do you often compare yourself to others?

Staying fit is an important part of staying healthy. This blog will offer exercise tips from experts as well as share the personal journeys of Globe staff members committed to fitness. No matter your age or energy level, we invite you to join in and share your own story. How do you find time to work out? What are your daily challenges? Let us know and read along -- and together, we can all get moving.


Elizabeth Comeau is a social media marketing manager at She will be blogging about her personal fitness journey and using a device called a FitBit to track her weekly goals and progress (see below). Follow her journey and share your own. Read more about Elizabeth and this blog.

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