On July 30, Spoken Word poet Andrea Gibson (They/Them) shared a powerful and courageous video with their fans. Andrea was sharing the news that they had been diagnosed with Stage 2B Ovarian cancer, and although the news was tough to hear, the video and the sheer optimism from the poet was enlightening. Sitting in their back garden, surrounded by trees and a soft backing track, Andrea began to share the story of how cancer became prominent in their life.
As a long time fan of Andrea Gibson, I know that they’re not one for shying away from the things in life that are hardest to talk about, and the way in which Andrea allows their fans to come on this journey shows the “close relationship” they share.
Andrea tells us about the stomach pain that went on for months, the cat scans and tests. How the surgeons found masses on their ovaries and how they were “hoping it was alien implants that had been discovered” and not cancer.
Soon after came a “radical hysterectomy” where everything from their fallopian tubes to “the little yellow ball in our stomachs that kind of looks like the sun” was removed. But instead of talking about the pain, and the suffering that this has caused, Andrea has decided to focus on love. They told us “my heart feels like a teenager whose parents have just left…I feel so much love, like my heart has quadrupled in size”.
I can’t imagine the fear that Andrea must be going through, it makes me mad, because I know that no one deserves to suffer like this, but when it is someone who gives so much light and hope to other people, someone who has the ability to in act change with their words, it highlights how cruel the world is. But still, Andrea said it was not the worst time of their life because it has shown them how much love they have for art, for creating, for everything. And when the days are most dark, that is their focus, not what could happen, but what they can do to spread love and keep creating in this world so that others feel less alone in their suffering.
To be able to do that on any given day is incredible, but to be able to find the strength to do it when your body is fighting a huge battle against cancer, I am in awe of how they see this world and how everyday they wake up ready to take on the fight.
Andrea has expressed the gratitude they feel in life right now and where it is coming from, they have an incredible manager and booking agent who are both queer women, the surgeon/oncologist has been out of this world and the nurses have overwhelmed them, they have so much faith, and faith in their team that it makes the process and the battle easier to fight.
Andrea’s biggest desire right now is to spread and feel as much love as possible, which is the opposite of how they expected to feel.
“I want nothing more than to keep this love that is in my heart right now”.Andrea Gibson
Something they have learned through this is that they are not going through it alone “everyone who loves me is going through this too”. After Andrea was diagnosed, they spent the next three days with their head on their mums lap, and everyone laughed so much, “there was so much laughter my Dad had to tell me to stop because I was meant to be resting my stomach muscles.”
For Andrea, making art is everything, it is putting things out into the world and hoping they connect with someone. They plan to stay as connected to their community and fans as possible as it is vital for their healing.
“Art is life giving to me”.Andrea Gibson
Andrea told their fans that this video had been one of the hardest things to do out of all of this, because they know that they connect on a deep level through their poetry which talks about mental illness, trauma and suicide.
Andrea said: “It is really hard for me to think about sharing news with yall that might make your day harder and I wanted to speak to that, truth comes with connection and connection comes with peace, and I need you all in this world with me”.
Andrea Gibson is one of the most inspiring people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting, their passion for poetry, art and life itself ricochets throughout the world, and they are proof that poetry can help us heal, and that as long as we can create, there will always be something louder than destruction.
Feature image credit: msmagazine.com