Take a Breath — This Column Won’t Be Easy to Read

Bailey Vincent avatar

by Bailey Vincent |

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I wrote an entire column this morning and then threw it away.

All 800 words — or 790, if I don’t want to annoy my editor. I wrote it, reread it, and thought, “This doesn’t feel right.” It doesn’t feel right because nothing feels right — because something is terribly wrong.

I can’t tell you what. Not fully. Because it’s not my news to share, and I’m keeping it quiet and close to my chest forever, until directed otherwise. It is a deep, painful privilege to be “in the room where it’s happening” in any infinitesimal way, and stress about it all night long as if that will do something.

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Maybe it will. Maybe it won’t. But I wrote a column this morning asking you to do the same. I said that a young student I love is currently fighting for their life. And I talked about perspective. A lot. I said such gems as, “Our perspective is just one bad day away from getting better. The skill, that is. Without the bad, it’s hard to appreciate the good.” Or, “It’s difficult to have perspective on perspective.”

But it’s all trash. Even if I ask every person who’s reading this to pause right now and send their personal energy and hope into the world for this young, deserving soul (and I am asking that, to be clear), I’m not sure it’s what is needed. Because even with a mob of prayers/spells/mantras going up and out accordingly, how do we fix the plague of our time right now? Selfishness cannot be cured in 790-ish words or less.

perspective / Cystic Fibrosis News Today / Photo of Bailey and her husband photographing dancers in the woods.

“Appreciating students while worrying for those not pictured.” Bailey, left, with husband, JL, and dance students in August. (Courtesy of Bailey Anne Vincent and Stephanie Walczack)

Amid the hoping and wishing and inability to write about anything else this morning, I can’t shake the knowledge that another human was fighting me yesterday about something as insignificant as wearing a mask — a tiny piece of fabric — as if it’s the end of their world. So, I am filled with rage.

I am filled with the rage that only a mother can know while watching a fellow mother and friend fight and hope that her baby will be OK.

I am filled with rage at traffic jams, at favorite TV shows being canceled, at coffees gone cold, all of which become worthy of the designation of “bad day” for so many of us. (OK, maybe the TV show cancellation tracks. That s**t is tragic.)

And the truth is, we can’t have perspective all the time. It’s impossible to maintain. Just as we can’t know what someone else’s worst feels like without reaching our own, most of us will never know a worst such as this one.

So, how do we keep going when the things we think mean so much actually mean so very little? Even in this moment, I can list five parts of my day that feel bad without pause: Needing to have surgery soon. Pain. A dirty house. Fighting children. The fact that I spent most of the day on a column I’m now deleting.

perspective / Cystic Fibrosis News Today / Photo of dance teachers directing students in the woods.

Bailey, right, and rehearsal director Sam, left, direct teen students in August. (Courtesy of Bailey Anne Vincent and Stephanie Walczack)

But does any of that really matter when somewhere in the world — somewhere in my world — a young teenager is fighting for everything they have? No. So when can we, as adults, get over ourselves? Open our eyes and see how horribly wrong we have this whole thing? The extent to which we’ve lost the plot?

We can’t always have perspective or all the answers, but maybe we can still do some good here. Today. In this moment.

Maybe, by thinking about this young person together, we can send a wave of comfort when needed most. Maybe, by shifting our trivial complaints for a day or two, we can shift the culture of those around us, too — impacting more than we can ever see.

I don’t know if stressing all night long has actually done any good, and I don’t know if it ever will.

But I wrote a column this morning asking you to do the same.


Note: Cystic Fibrosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cystic Fibrosis News Today, or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to cystic fibrosis.


Judy Moreland avatar

Judy Moreland

I am sorry to read about this very painful distress. The stress will probably get better at some point. In my case, even in the most stressful times, at some point (and it may be days or even weeks), the stress will ease because the mind and body just can't live with that much stress anymore, It's as if a valve in your body opens for a slow relief of the stress. I hope that happens soon for you, Bailey.

Love, Jude


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