Kat Andrews bears the ‘Fruit of My Womb’

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 27, 2000

Features Editor

Latasha "Kat" Andrews believes that "You can’t fail unless you try but you also can’t succeed unless you try."

So, trying is taking a chance on both, but it is a chance worth taking "just on the chance you might succeed."

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Andrews took a chance by bearing the "Fruit of My Womb" and, on a wide scale, the jury is still out, but, on a small scale, she is experiencing the sweet smell of success.

Andrews recently self-published a collection of poetry which was drawn from her own life experiences – the ups and downs and the journeys that took her there.

The collection of poetry, titled,

Fruit of My Womb: nine lives … kat’s story, is divided into three sections – Playing, Straying and Staying.

"According to an old English proverb, a cat has nine lives –

three for playing, three for straying and three for staying," Andrews said. "How accurately that phrase depicts my life, as it does many others. In life, we go through stages and experience growth with each. Whether we fail or succeed, we advance further in our natural lives until our final destination is met. Ultimately, that place is death. It is an unpleasant thought and one we would rather not think about."

Andrews said if life is lived with purpose, death can serve a purpose.

"Our death must be a celebration of our life," she said. "We should be able to compare the past to our present and see a significant difference. We should look at our present and see hope for the future. We should be able to envision our future and say ‘Well done.’"

Andrews said she adopted the name "Kat" to describe the person she has become.

"For me ‘Kat’ signifies survival," she said. "God created cats to be flexible and adaptable creatures under any circumstance. Throughout most situations, they are able to maintain grace and poise. They stay focused and determined, gentle yet aggressive, quiet but bold. All these traits wrapped in an attractive package are a force to be reckoned with. The key element is being one of God’s creations. As one of God’s creatures, I believe that ‘I can do all thing through Christ which strengtheneth me.’"

Andrews said in spite of all the tumultuous events of her life, she has survived.

"I thank God for blessing me with life," she said. "I thank Him for giving me the option to choose life again. Regardless of how low I fall or how high I climb, I am reborn. As a result, I present my ‘body’ as a living sacrifice, in the form of poetry which reveals all that I was, everything I am and all I hope for be from the ‘Fruit of My Womb.’"

Andrew is a native of New York and, to date, most of her books have been sold in that market

and they have been well received.

"The book is from my heart and those who have read it have been touched by it and inspired by it because they can see themselves in it," she said. "All of us go through personal experiences that take us into the depths of the valleys and others that take us to the mountain tops. It’s how we deal with these lows and highs in our lives that make us who we are – especially the lows points. It’s natural to be discouraged at times, but the key is not to get down and out."

Andrews said she hopes her poetry conveys that message to those who are discouraged or placed in difficult situations.

"What I want people to understand is that they don’t have to stay where they are placed; they can pull themselves up," she said. "Several of my books made their way into a prison and one of the prisoners was moved to tears. It is my hope that, through my struggles, others may gain strength and find hope."

Andrews also hopes that by reading her poetry, others will begin to put their thoughts on paper.

She is working with the young people in a local group home to help them learn to use writing as a coping skill.

"Writing is great therapy because it allows you to externalized your thoughts and it helps you open up to others," Andrews said. "You don’t have to be a great writer to benefit from expressing yourself on paper."

Putting her thoughts and feelings on paper has helped Andrews on her journey from

playing to straying to staying, so no matter what the future holds, writing will always be a part of it, either professional or personally.

However, right now, she is more into the business end of writing.

She is marketing her collection of poetry with hopes that it will do as well here in the South as it has in the New York and New Jersey areas where she has family. Her mother is a writer and has a poetry reading at Madison Square Garden to her credit. But, Andrews is now "at home" in Pike County where she is a student at Troy State University majoring in English with minors in criminal justice and journalism. She will graduate in December 2001 and then move into the workplace to which she is no stranger.

She was a member of the Teach for America program for two years and worked with inner city youths in New Jersey.

"I believe that experience will make the transition from college to work much easier," she said. "It gave me an insight that I would not have had. It was a great experience."

However, the future holds much hope and promise for the writer who, like a cat, has nine lives – three for playing, three for straying and three for staying.

"Kat" has done the playing and the straying. Now, she is "staying" and, what she learned in the other lives she is sharing in Fruit of My Womb

in hopes that her experiences will benefit others as they make similar journeys through playing and straying and into staying.