For a long time—since 2017, to be exact, following the publication of the Arabic version of my last book, “An Indelible Crossing” —I have not penned anything beyond my academic obligations, except for a few tweets that hardly convey anything of substance. This morning, as I went about my daily routine, I felt an overwhelming need to write, to reflect. Sometimes, you find yourself yearning to express something, and only writing can give voice to that inner dialogue. Writing serves as a means of self-alleviation; akin to running, it liberates something from your mind, lightening your being. Yet, here I am, compelled to articulate my reflections, and nothing resonates more with me than the self—an idea inexhaustible and beyond doubt as a subject for writing. The essence within me mirrors that in others; despite our differences, we share a peculiar similarity. Every encounter with adversity reminds me that others face similar struggles. It’s as though we live within each other, each of us carrying something inside—not in our wombs, but in our ‘wombic’ ideas, restless untilwe express these notions in some form, be it through speech, writing, tears, or silence.

Why, then, do I lament this state when it is a condition we all endure? At times, it feels as though we are engaged in a battle with ourselves, with no other adversary present. We are manifold, inventive, limitless, yet simultaneously isolated, fragile, and fragmented. My desires conflict; I yearn for something more even before grasping the initial want. This perpetual struggle mirrors the battles faced by those around me. I once believed that friends with fulfilling jobs, intimate family lives, and good health were inherently happier than those without. However, I’ve come to understand that this is not the case. Immersed in our modernity, we remain dissatisfied with the unseen joys we possess, always craving more. Yet, in this pursuit of more, there lies only pain, for it is an endless chase, a battle with no victor, only the persistent yearning for what remains just beyond reach.