There’s a certain amount of courage and skill required to so effortlessly portray the emotional and psychological burdens and struggles
of a young, black woman. Natural hair vlogger, Jouelzy, proves in her publication Send It On she has more than enough of the necessary talent and expertise to create a story we can relate to.
The collection of stories follows the emotional excursions of the protagonist, Solana, as she deals with exes, friends who’ve wronged her and African men who work as professional escorts.
The book’s tag line “The evolution of faith in love, vulnerability and freedom” could not be more appropriate as the collection of short stories truly is a journey through one woman’s foray into navigating the emotional landmines of failed romantic relationships, failed business partnerships and flawed family ties.
Written so realistically that I believed it was an autobiographical work until I interviewed the well-known vlogger, Send It On is a feat of self-reflection and comfort for those of us still figuring out what it really means to be an adult.
“A lot of people think my real name is Solana,” the Internet personality joked as she discussed the amount of people who believe the stories are nonfictional. She commented that the work is “fiction based on reality.” The confusion most people have regarding whether the work is spoken in Jouelzy’s personal voice speaks to how effective the author is at making these stories convincing and relatable.
On why the book was written:
“The book is about the emotional experience of a young woman coming of age into her womanhood. I felt it was something that everybody could relate to, but that isn’t often talked about. [Women are] constantly portrayed from the direction of strong, always happy women and no one is really talking about the development to get to that point. How to deal with real life situations and not maintain this façade of what others expect of you.”
The story that speaks most to me in the collection is “Send it On.” Couched between an account of Solana confronting the man who sexually assaulted her and a regret-filled retelling of an ill-fated relationship with a guy she knew better than to trust, “Send It On” authentically depicts the ebbs and flows of falling for someone who is emotionally unavailable.
As Solana recalls the initial feelings of infatuation with her new crush, I can do nothing but sigh and remember my own giddy feelings of realizing that someone I liked, liked me back. When she talks about the text messages coming less frequently and becoming less intimate I shudder at my own past with neurotically checking my phone for messages that would never come and frantically worrying that I haven’t done enough to keep my beloved interested.
One of the longest stories in the collection, the titular narrative is the most intimate and detailed of them all. Jouelzy takes the reader through the highs and lows of this doomed relationship with almost painstaking detail regarding Solana’s emotional dependency on her unattainable beau and her feelings of inadequacy as he strings her along. The entire length of the story you are empathizing with the author and potentially seeing your own truth reflected in her struggle with love.
Though each story does not seamlessly flow into the next, which is expected since this is a collection of stories and not a novel, it is easy to jump into each individual account and be engaged from start to finish.
Overall, Send It On is a win and a complete pleasure to read. This book is for black women. It tells the story and truth of black females as they try to remain strong in the face of adversity while still maintaining vulnerability to those they love. This book highlights the almost daily fights that most women go through when deciding whether they want to be strong or sensitive or the perfect blend of the two personas while attempting to be a real “grown up.”
As a black woman who is daily trying to shed the armor of strongblackwoman-ness, I found Send It On to be a refreshing motivation to continue being okay with vulnerability. The interesting thing about this collection is that at no time does the author make a clear choice between being strong or vulnerable. In any given story, Solana is maintaining and balancing both emotions believably. Send It On is a lesson in unapologetically feeling and being.
Shedding tears, being heartbroken by family members and lovers and standing up for yourself even when the battle is over are all a part of Solana’s reality, and I am grateful Jouelzy chose to share Solana’s stories with the world.
Send It On: A Collection of Short Stories can be found on Amazon, CreateSpace, Kindle and at Barnes & Noble! To keep tabs on Jouelzy’s various happenings check out Jouelzy.com or find her on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook.