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“Be a hero.”

-Ady Barkan



My name is Irkalla Lustre.

ive heard people say that success is terrifying. im starting to understand that now. I planted seeds years ago , an anthology here, a zine there, a essay there. and moved on thru the agonizing struggle of my life on the streets. and my life as a person with fibro and c-ptsd.

I never thought success would happen. I thought i would toil in obscurity forever. i think on some level i even wanted this. I was included in a major anthology with major artists. This is far more high profile of a project than i ever realized. This is far bigger of an honor than i ever realized. I dont feel like im sure if i even deserve this. and when i get into these kinds of things i start to worry that people will connect to my music and art, see me as a role model, and then later be disappointed

. Im not inspiring. Im not sure i should be a role model either. I mentor two streetkids in my family officially and many others in my family Witch Crew see me as a surrogate mother. to them i may be a role model, but even this took me years to accept. To eventually have a chance to be seen as a role model for others more broadly, is a prospect that concerns me. Because as i gain more and more visibility through my different projects and successes, im going to be held to higher standards.

It may be pretentious to throw out concepts like role model when im not even a C list celebrity yet, but i know how to read the signs. I have done my Natal Chart. Ive been watching the way beings and omens are appearing and shifting around me. I post about myself, my life and struggle and the responses cause me to think ppl do in fact see me as a role model or community leader

It scares me. because i feel i cannot bear the burden of being a role model, or a leader . i feel like i will just disappoint people. Theyll find out how complicated my past is and theyll feel betrayed.

The anthology im in was posted just a couple of days ago and im already seeing a small but notable spike in my #s of followers on social media. This is nothing, im not important, and if i stayed in obscurity thats maybe for the best? But the possibility that it wont go that way is driving me insane.

So im just going to be honest, and im going to write this. Because if i somehow become a c list, or b list trans celebrity, i dont want anyone to feel betrayed. Or feel i acted like a role model . ive seen what its like to be a high profile leftist icon /famous trans person. Moral standards are a common issue. I do not know how to live up to those.

Im going to talk about mistakes i have made. Some of these things could come out eventually. some of them no one would ever possibly know if it wasnt for this article. but im sick of not talking about them. im sick of holding it in.

So im just going to say, publically, right here and right now, a list of reasons. why im not inspiring. and why i am not a role model.

1. I was groomed by an esoteric fascist for 2 years starting at the age of 20, 12 years ago. She wanted me to be in her cult, she more than once said something racist & i said nothing.

2. When i was 18 i did modelling on a softcore porn site. At the time i was a typical impulsive teenage anarchist. I picked up writings randomly and chaotically. I rarely read between the lines, or thought about what i was saying. In my bio /profile in the models section….i mentioned i was a fan of Hakim Bey. I read a single essay by him and nothing else, then based on that one vignette, i assumed his work was fine. Later on realized that hes a vile piece of shit . I made attempts to change my bio on the site but never heard back. On second thought though, maybe its for the best that i never heard back, cause whats the point of changing history?
I do not at all endorse that point of view anymore and i have changed immensely since then (years on the street will do that). But i also feel its wrong to erase history. I did something wrong. and ill face the consequences.

3. I used to have dreads. i cut them off several years ago.

4. I used to live in a house in olympia, when i lived there a number of things happened,, and i had to make difficult choices. like whether to protect a Latinx trans woman or take sides with anther POC who felt she was dangerous. I chose the former . someone pulled a knife on that Twoc, my sister, Ezmy. I chose to not abandon her. (we lived on the street together for 9 months and i was one of the only people to protect her when she was assaulted and we were later both abused by a cult leader named Phaedra.) That being said the situation was complicated and many people feel im a bad person because of my failures to properly elevate the other voices in the house. I dont think i was 100% wrong but i wasnt 100% right either. The situation was complicated. During that time someones carelessness got me stuck on a needle, i was unstable from breathing black mold 24 hours a day. But when the dust settled and i was homeless , the end result was that people who face oppression felt unsafe and i played a role in that. and that fucking sucks. Im not mentioning all this because i think im right or wrong. im mentioning it because people need to know im well aware that i am not pure, or righteous. i am not woke. I am not non-racist. i am just another flawed white person. i have failed, many times. i am possibly failing at something right now. and i may fail all of you again in the future.

5. in 2014-2017 i had a crowdfund campaign . We tried to do a large scale media project. we got 600$. some of it was stolen. The rest wasnt enough to cover all of our expenses. then we ended up on the street for some of an autumn….an entire winter and an entire spring. At that point we had to spend all of our time surviving. When i finally got stability i tried to catch up and send more packages. But i never really sorted it out . now am housed up again to find my doc says i have fibro. So my attempts to settle this are again going slowly. Maybe theres people out there who feel i/we cheated them. If i suddenly won the lottery id find everyone and pay them all back. but i cant because im still just surviving.

6. when i was 20 i was in a cult . they got into my head . they wanted me to break up with my partner because my partner was trying to get me out of the cult. Under their influence i was extremely emotionally toxic. And selfish. And i probably broke my partners heart several times.

7. i spent some time in toronto in summer 2012 and was extremely selfish, obnoxious, rude and entitled to a lot of people. Im not proud of that.

Im not saying these things so i will be forgiven. im not saying these things so i can hashtag radicalvulnerability. If ppl think this is accountability cool but i dont even know how to call it that because i dont know what the standard is to be considered properly accountable. I dont know how much accountable is accountable. So i dont know what this is. All i know is….when this anthology was coming together i didnt realize this would be the biggest honor of my life. I didnt realize it would be something i would not feel i deserved. Even when i cant figure out how to offer resitution for something im at least aware that the whole mess has changed me. even if ppl are angry at me for not apologizing well enough, i at least need them to see that im not oblivious, and im not hiding. Im defiled. and i know it.

All i know is…i do not know if i can live up to the honor thats been placed on me by this new project. And if this kind of visibility implies that im a good person, maybe i shouldnt have been included.

If it would help to say im sorry, im sorry. if i havent said sorry before its because. I dont really know what form an apology would take. and i dont want to assume. I dont even know who to address this to. I watch politicians say theyre sorry for things all the time. theyre good at it, but nothing ever changes. If what you want is concrete change in my life…here it is. .do i speak to that esoteric fascist cult leader? i hate her and havent spoken to her or her associates in years. Have i made attempts to repair damage from my actions ? yes. To me the only true apology is self improvement. That is what i seek to do every day. Every day i find a reason to live. Because if i dont, my illness, my fibro, will kill me. My reason for living is making myself better. My way of apologizing is making a tangible impact. fighting empire. making the world better. transforming myself. i dont know what else i can do.

and what i also want is for people to not feel betrayed.
so im saying right here. right now. at the beginning. that i may be a bad person. and if you see me as a role model, as an activist, as a hero…i may just disappoint you. So its better to just know at the outset , all of this.

If anyone wants me to not be included in things, i understand. Everyone has to honor the values they live by. and honor the communities and traditions those values came from. Im being honest right now about my history. So if you feel threatened by me …we can develop an understanding early on.

Anyone who brought me into anthologies, zines, whatever…please dont blame them if u feel hurt. People who ran anthologies i was involved in did their best. I showed them all as many of my
blogs as possible . my writing is very candid and honest about many painful topics. but i didnt mention this confessional stuff all at once in a single article before. The reason is because 1) its painful and 2) i thought the projects i was involved in were small-scale and 3) ive spent so much of the past couple years surviving on the street that i havent thought of this stuff very much. but thats still not an excuse. i could have made time to examine it and i didnt.

what im most regretful of is the fact that i could have done a lot more to think about the space i was coming into with this project. I entered into it without much intention. A friend of a friend approached me. i sent a song, and that was it. I should have considered more issues. if im going to be in a project focused on POC , i should have started a conversation about whether i should even be involved.

no one has called me out at this point. its possible if it wasnt for this article no one ever would have found out about my shitty past. But this has to be written because not talking about it is poisoning my soul. .

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