What to do when silence calls

Reflecting on journeying through a dark night of the soul

Jael R. Bakari
4 min readAug 28, 2023

I’m non verbal right now.

I seem to have no problem writing out my thoughts on places like the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, but everywhere else I’ve kind of fallen into a space of quiet contemplation.

I don’t call or text family anymore.

I stopped checking in with friends.

And I’ve lost all interest in keeping up with acquaintances.

I’ve just gone silent.

A cause for concern

Initially I was inclined to blame it on my pregnancy, especially as I slide closer and closer toward my due date. My tolerance for social interaction is understandably much lower as I grow more irritable playing host to a roommate who insists on breakdancing near my bladder at the most inopportune moments.

But to say my current host body status is the source of my pain, suffering, and subsequent self imposed silence would be a leap beyond the bounds of reason and into the territory of woe is me. And try as I might, I’m not built for those depths.

Sit down be humble

Truth be told my silence now is one of bred of abject humiliation.

The humiliation of failing at what I’d set out to do as a writer and business person. The financial failing of my family’s ability to do more than keep a steady roof over our heads. The failing of the social systems that are supposed to step in at times like this. The failing of the world and political leaders around me. The failing of the environment.

The failing. The failing. The failing.

And really if I’m truly being honest the one that hurts the most is my own failure because it’s been beyond humbling. I’m at the point in my journey where I don’t know what to do anymore. I feel like I’m spinning in circles trying to find answers, trying to find a way out. Questioning the entire time if I’m absolutely sure that I’m headed in the right direction and not just wandering on a hazy quest to buy a stairway to Heaven.

And it doesn’t help I’m doing this all for the first time in my life completely sober. Not using food, drugs, retail therapy, or busyness to keep me from facing the answers I fear. So for once it’s truly just me and my darkness.

Table for Two

But in the midst of my rendezvous with my shadow, I find myself returning to safe spaces.

Sitting with minds like Toni Morrison and Kendrick Lamar. Pondering the ways of alchemists before me like Kevin Hart, Ali Siddiq and Dave Chappelle. Re-reading favorites like Johnathan Livingston Seagull and Illusions by Richard Bach. Getting a laugh or two from classics like The Boondocks and The Player’s Club. Or finding solace in a return to my childhood Saturday morning favorite The X-Men. And as I sit in silence contemplating the state of the world and my place in it, my spirit begins to look past my failings for a moment and begins to imagine.

Imagine being free to soar from the weight of what ails me. Imagine being able to take flight like the tales of my ancestors from old who could soar away from the endless drudgery of life to someplace fantastic and free. Someplace far beyond the stars.

The pieces I am

And then in the midst of my imagining I find myself returning, as always, here. The safest place I know. My pen and paper. My thumbs and keypad. My place in front of the keyboard. It doesn’t matter how. I truly believe that if my world were to end today and take with it all the amenities to which I’ve become accustomed to, I’d find ways to scrawl words across any surface that would yield to me.

After all here I am again. Not speaking to the world around me but somehow finding it in me to put my thoughts together for a distant imagined reader, in hopes of making sense of the mess that is in my head.

And then it clicks. The distant reader is me. I’m here in the shadows of life to find myself and learn where it is I was born to fly and be free. That place is 100% without a doubt writing. And just because my life is not reflecting that doesn’t make me any less of a writer.

(And if we keeping it funky, based on my time spent in the shower musing out loud, I’m a speaker too. Because even if no one was there to listen, I’d be there, yammering away about my life, the universe and everything in it.)

A lesson

So dear one, why am I sharing this with you? Because I know I’m not the only one feeling this way as they cut through the maze of life. And if you find yourself like me, ready to put the whole world on mute, I ask you to take a good look at yourself in the midst of your shadow walking and ask yourself: where do you go when you go silent? When you can no longer smoke, drink, eat, fuck, cook, binge, shop, laugh, or busy the pain away?

Look to where you go.

Because wherever it is, it is your north star, guiding you to yourself so you can sort through the pieces you are, and be ready to put them all together again.

Now if you excuse me, I got some more writing and speaking to do.

Till next time my loves.



Jael R. Bakari

hero maker by day, psychic clown witch by night. writer of literary crack. future poor white billionaire. your favorite —ist https://linktr.ee/jaelrbakari