Nadia Abdalla: It is lonely and mentally draining to be young

Nadia Abdalla.

Nadia Abdalla.

Photo credit: Pool

Nadia Ahmed Abdalla is a writer, communication strategist and inspirational speaker. She describes herself as “an avid communicator, who believes in the power of the mind and is always ready to voice out her opinions and speak for those who are unable.” Nadia is a former Chief Administrative Secretary ICT, Youth, and Innovation. She speaks to Nation.Africa on her writing experience.

Nadia wrote her first book in 2017 while living in Berlin, studying for her Masters. Titled The Feminist in Us, she wanted to understand how African feminism is perceived in the world and why feminism does not work.

“I interviewed different people from across the world on their thoughts. It was people’s opinions and my input in every chapter. I published it under creative space in Amazon.”

She chose Amazon because she wanted to reach larger audiences across the world.

The book was inspired by two things.

“Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie inspired me with her book We Should All Be Feminists. My master’s degree also inspired me and knowing my thesis would not reach everybody, I wanted to do what everybody can access. When we talk about feminism and authenticity, I admire Chimamanda. She does not just write but speaks on the things she writes.”

Then in 2021, Nadia wrote her second book, A Growing Memoir.

“I realised that everybody waits until a certain point in life before writing about their experiences. I wanted to write my own when young. I was targeting people aged 13 upwards. I addressed identity crises, mental health, sexual and gender-based experiences and those of being a youth in Africa,” she says.

Having read many books about other people, she could not relate with what they were about.

“I also worked with the principle that we never know when the last day comes. So, if you have that power and ability to write, you got to do it. I also drew encouragement from the fact that there could be someone out there who needed to get inspired,” Nadia adds.

Nadia writes from lived experiences to opinionated pieces and does not plan her writing.

“I get inspired by many things, among them my lived experiences. I go with how I feel. For a week I can write throughout. I have a folder and I just type. It could be a page on some days, and none for the following weeks.”

With her first book, she monitored herself through the writing, giving herself three to six months and writing a page or two each day. The second book was like a journal.

“I recorded and cumulated it into a book. I mostly write as ideas come. If I plan, I will not write. I write how I speak and speak what I write,” she declares.

Reading Experience

“Five to six years ago, I used to read a lot. But these days there is so much audio-visual around us. I still go for hard copy books,” Nadia says as she describes how her reading taste has changed.

“My reading enthusiasm has also declined because of lots of things to listen to and watch. Overall, I read from autobiographies to self-help books. Whenever I am travelling, I read. On Sundays, I play jazz and read. With my busy schedule, I use every opportunity to read and write.”

However, Nadia avoids reading science fiction.

“Science fiction can prompt you to start questioning a lot of things. I avoid it because I don’t want to complicate my life. It reads like you are being examined. I want to learn about how to grow my personality and psychology.”

Lessons from reading?

“I have learnt that as humans our brains evolve according to the people around us. I have also gathered that Africans in our authenticity try to focus on what happens outside and not pay attention to what happens inside us,” she states.

Feedback from readers

Nadia adds that when people read her work, whether newsletters on LinkedIn or her books, they feel like she speaks to them directly.

“People say I am relatable; that it feels like I know what they go through and that my works provide them solutions to problems they are undergoing,” she concludes.

Nadia has The Light We Carry by Michele Obama as her next read and is writing about how lonely and mentally draining it is to be young.

“Chasing life and career. Everybody looks at you and say that you are young and have time. But people forget that there is a lot we face and that we need hand holding and guidance. You must be there for yourself. You have to save and take responsibilities. And those ahead of us are scared to empower us because they too are still chasing the things we want as young people.”

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