Updated: Oct 29
Feature Spotlight | Exclusive
A buzzing iPad filled with NSFW photos and secrets of an unfaithful partner would be the catalyst for author Brian Welch to reshape the trajectory of his life. Welch exclusively shares with Gaye Magazine that his debut memoir “I’ll Sit This Right Here” is meant to inspire people to pull themselves out of a dark place and reconnect them with their dreams and passions.
In the book, he reveals how he fought through the pain of losing his relationship and later built a better version of himself.
The New Orleans native spent his childhood taking in the vibrant cultures and sights of the people from the city. With an abundance of inspiration to pull from, Welch flocked to the arts when he was young and began writing poetry in school.
“Since I was young, I've always been infatuated with the idea of love, so to talk about it in a poetic sense, was always intriguing to me.”
In “I’ll Sit This Right Here” Welch puts his writing skills and story to paper, where he goes deep and opens up about various topics from surviving sexual abuse to moving nearly 8,000 miles away from New Orleans to Afghanistan to serve as a contractor for the military.
He said during this time he would learn to have a greater appreciation for the troops stationed far from home, citing the country's harsh living conditions and active war zones as the reason why.
"If I can survive this, I can survive anywhere."
While in Afghanistan he began a relationship with a soldier who was stationed nearby.
“It was initially a social media relationship and it blossomed,” he tells us. After a sizable amount of time together Welch and his partner decided to move back to the states together, a decision Welch said was tough.
“He talked about not wanting to be in a long-distance relationship, and I told one of my friends I had a weird feeling about moving”.
Despite his intuition telling him the move might not be the best decision for him, he went through with it. For Welch, the move and relationship were a test to himself that he could be in a healthy long-term relationship.
“I had a joke I used to tell myself, “I’m just the summer love kind of guy, two to three months and then they’re gone.”
Eventually, Welch migrated back to the states with his partner but still felt uneasy about their relationship. "I didn't have anything tangible to prove at the time and I thought maybe I was trying to sabotage a good relationship," he said.
The relationship would eventually end when he found out about his exes' infidelities when his iPad kept buzzing in the middle of the night. “The pictures and emails I saw hurt my head till tears flowed,” he said.
“There were enough pics and videos to launch a current-day OnlyFans account.”
Following the cheating revelations, he fell into a dark depression, which eventually led him to seek out psychotherapy. A decision he admits was tough due to his preconceived notions about therapy.
“Growing up I suppressed everything, the only therapy I knew of was the physical kind,” Welch said.
He admits the language surrounding mental health was harsh in his family and people with mental health issues were labeled crazy. “There was never any going deeper to the core to figure out why we feel the way we feel”. Welch said.
In the book, he recounts his paranoia before his first session, but he would eventually be at ease once he saw how effective therapy was. He hopes more generations of black families will seek out therapy as means to cope with their emotions.
“With raising boys, especially black boys, we tell them boys don’t cry,” Welch said.
“What ends up happening is we raise a generation of unemotionally intelligent boys who think their feelings and emotions are a sign of weakness.”
After the revelation of his partner, he began plotting to move out.
“I packed all of my stuff and left, I was alone in a state I didn't know anyone in and it was a dark time,” Welch said.
In addition to opening up about his relationship trauma, Welch also shared his experience with surviving sexual abuse in his adolescent years. “I was very strategic about speaking about it because I didn't want anyone to correlate my abuse with my sexuality”. Welch said.
“I know in telling that story, I was able to give someone else who went through the same thing, some liberation as well.”
For Welch, “I’ll Sit This Right Here” is more than a memoir about his life but also a means to capture the struggles of an audience who might not find themselves represented in literature.
“Upon doing my research for this book I found not even half of the published authors are black people,” Welch said.
“There are a lot of stories similar to mine but we never get to tell our story. If we aren't telling our stories, sharing our experiences, who is controlling the narrative?”