Shaira Patel '21

Shaira Patel is a first year at DePauw University and a member of Pi Beta Phi. She frequently posts her poetry on her instagram @shairapatel.

HerCampus: Thank you so much for taking time for me today! How are you?

Shaira Patel:  I’m really awesome, thanks for asking!

HC: Anyone who follows your social media knows you write poetry; how did you get into it?

SP:  I kept a journal as an outlet during high school. I never really shared it because I wrote poetry to express how I’m feeling and kind of create meaning out of the things I am going through. Poetry really helped me stay serene when I was in high school without being destructive. It saved me more times than once.

HC: What kind of audience do you most attract with your poetry; why do you think that is?

SP: Broken people, mostly. My writing currently is very hard to write about. I attract people who are hurting. I attract people who don’t really know how to put what they’re going through into words. I never knew that people felt the way I do, and so when I put my first poem out, I got so much feedback from people who felt every word of that poem. I just think it feels nice to know that you aren’t the only one going through something. I guess my writing projects comfort in some way, which is attractive to people who are hurting.

HC: The subjects of these poems range from empowerment to pain, which really makes people connect and relate to you. This is an intense power as a writer. Have you ever questioned a piece of work you have posted?

SP: Many of my writings, like I said, are very hard to write. It’s even hard to share. Everything I write is absolute truth. I am a very transparent individual, and it took me awhile to be open about my feelings through writing. I didn’t think it would be accepted, and I was afraid to be called crazy. But I realized that feeling pain is a good thing. It reminds us that we are human, and we are present and existing here, in the now. There was one writing I questioned to post, and it was called “Shai’s funeral”. I basically touched on suicidal thoughts and how I imagined people to react if that incident were to happen. I was hesitant posting it because I didn’t want people to feel uncomfortable or worried, or think I was asking for attention. But the truth is, I posted it anyway because society gets uncomfortable when suicide comes up. No one knows how to feel or react to this topic, and I think that’s something we should all work on. So yeah, that poem did make my viewers uncomfortable, but that’s okay. It kind of woke people up.

HC: What is one thing you want your readers to know about you and your poems?

SP: I want them to know that they are not alone. Everything I write, I have been through or I have watched someone else go through. I don’t want my readers to think I am anything more than I actually am. I am everything I present in my poems, and it is okay to be flawed and to be broken.

HC: Do you have any advice to people who want to start posting their work on social media?

SP: Do it; do what you love and show people. You never know who you’re going to inspire, who you’re going to help. More importantly, you could save a life.

HC: Amazing! Thank you again for time! And don't forget to check Shaira on Insta!