Poets for A Cause: Angie Waters (A.Shea Writer)
Welcome to the second installment of “Poets for a Cause,” which strives to spotlight writers in the poetry community who bring awareness to important topics such as mental illness, addiction, trauma, and many others. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our first writer spotlight with K.Y. Robinson who she shed light on the importance of destigmatizing and supporting those who struggle with mental illness. This week, I am honored to talk with Angie Waters, also known as A. Shea, about a topic that is close to her heart: chronic illness.
Angie was very open and honest as I asked her about some of the specifics of her story, and I am so excited for readers to get a glimpse of her strength and spirit.
Angie Waters: “Writing has been a part of my life since elementary school. Poetry specifically has always held a special place in my heart and has been a personal outlet for decades. From my early teens, I have not been healthy. In my twenties, I was diagnosed with a handful of autoimmune illnesses, including Lupus. Over the years I have developed more issues and limitations and received more diagnoses. After surviving a traumatic childhood and years of troubled relationships, my health challenges pushed me to decide to make the most of the life I have.
That included following that childhood dream of being a writer. I posted my work publicly for the first time over two years ago. It began as a kind of self-therapy for battling my chronic illnesses and personal tragedies, but it was my hope that it would somehow touch lives. In the process, I have realized that many relate to what I deal with and are looking for ways to express their struggles as well. Being chronically ill impacts every part of life. Living with limitations and pain on physical and emotional levels is a daily challenge. I touch on many aspects in my work. It is my sincere wish that my words and my story are a source of encouragement and empowerment to anyone struggling with chronic illness and/or trauma.”
Angie is a beacon of light for anyone who has ever experienced the hardships that accompany life with a chronic illness. Whether it be on a physical or emotional level, every day can hold different challenges. It is extremely inspiring that she has used her experience to fuel her love of writing and helping others.
She is giving a voice to so many people who have dealt with the same struggles of living with a chronic illness while painting a picture of perseverance with every poem she writes. Like everyone with chronic illness, she has the strength of a warrior. She fights and overcomes challenges every day, often using writing as one of her driving passions. She inspires others to be open about their experiences as she shows them that they are not alone.
I asked Angie if she had a poem that she feels represents who she is as a writer and what she hopes to bring awareness to with her words. This is what she chose:
“Yes…I am a survivor
with every breath I will be,
but it is as a fighter
I pray you will remember me.
Not for my life’s struggles,
But for the way I gave them beauty.”
I absolutely loved this piece because I feel like it is such a profound message for anyone who battles chronic illness of any kind. It also extends to anyone who has suffered trauma or has struggled with mental illness. We are all unique and beautiful people looking for a way to navigate life’s struggles. We can feel seen and heard for who we are, not just what a diagnosis says we should be.
This talk with Angie has inspired me so much, and I hope her fighter’s heart has inspired you too. Her story reminds us that there are so many people fighting silent battles every day, and we can strive to be more understanding and gracious as we all navigate each day together. We can ask questions or strive to learn more about chronic illness. It may even inspire us to speak more openly about our own diagnoses or personal traumas when we are ready.
It is such a humbling truth to remember that our stories go so much deeper than surface level. Poetry can inspire us to see each other more clearly, to learn about each other, and to ask questions and have conversations about the things that truly matter. It is my hope that these spotlights will remind us of the many diverse faces in the poetry community and how we can all support each other and continue to grow together. Because we are truly better when we create a community centered on compassion. It’ll bring out our best writing and our best selves as we all come together with a common goal of love, of a better world, and of poetry.
Angie’s first poetry collection will be available sometime this fall, so be sure to follow her on Instagram @a.sheawriter for updates and more excellent writing!
*If you have a poet you would like to nominate for a spotlight for an upcoming edition of “Poets for a Cause,” please message Liz Newman for consideration.*