If you are very blessed, if you are very very favoured by the universe, then you just might find someone to fight with you as well as Callan fought with me. For Callan, fighting was a sacred duty, the way they offered service to the world. Fighting, like everything else for Callan, came from a place of brilliance and of love. Very early, they had to learn to live in a family where emotion was distant and patterns were fixed. Smart, smart, smart, they learned to fight. That fighting was called stupid everyday by those who would have found it easier if Callan went along to get along, but that was just one more fight to take on. The fight, you see, was for the family, trying to reach out to help a mother in turmoil, trying to protect siblings and others from her pain. Different was where Callan lived, trans, exploring and getting pounded for it from a very young age. The fight to stay whole, integrated and still be kind was a challenge everyday. "I want to be myself," Callan insisted to a therapist when at age 13 they were pressed to say who they wanted to be in a crude, ancient probe for gender identity. That fight, that toughness, that amazing brain that kept a tender heart safe, well, that was the gift that Callan gave the people they loved. Callan's ability to fight was almost mystical because they often understood your position much better than you did and were even able to express it in words that helped you understand yourself better. You knew you were being heard and valued. The problem with that power of understanding, though, was that she also understood where the crocks were in your position, the twists and unhealed places which were holding you back. With "just the wrong question" she was able to throw light on those areas, requiring you to reconsider, to grow. "If you want to be my ally, you have to hold open the space for my transformation," Callan often said. Callan always held a vision of what was possible for you, not pinning you into your current position but being willing able and even wanting to see you change and grow, becoming new and better. Callan's fighting always came from the place of holding high expectations for others, believing that they can heal, grow and become better. This attitude is simultaneously challenging and encouraging, asking you to move beyond comfort and convenience to be better than you are today. There was a cost to this for Callan. She held open opportunities for people to grow and when they chose not to, when they snapped back, becoming more entrenched and defended, Callan's hope for us took a bit of a hit. She kept fighting the same battle over and over again, knowing that people heal in their own way and their own time, a truth which holds both shining hope and daunting frustration. When we fall short of the possibilities that Callan sees in us, resisting change for our own reasons, this can be difficult for her. More than that, when we are unable to fight with and for Callan in the way she fights with and for us, well, that can leave her sad. As she got older, she was more and more choosy about who to fight with, knowing that giving herself without getting engagement back was a cost that she had little resource to keep giving. We would have been happy to have her keep battling, but she just didn't have that much to give after a lifetime making her open hearted and giving fight. In a world where attention spans are being forced shorter and shorter, Callan's memory and mental discipline was prodigious. After paying so much attention to you and your stories that you knew that you were loved, Callan could offer perspective and context that allowed connections to emerge and patterns to be revealed. The big picture wasn't just close to Callan, it was where they lived. This was an enormous gift to those of us who needed to remember what we value, but it was also a burden to Callan. When shapes emerge quickly, can be identified from a sharp and long memory, you lose the luxury of obsession, the short term focus which lets you ignore the challenges and probabilities, just moving on to satisfy your own current desires. If Callan loved you enough to fight with you and for you, it was an awesome and glorious thing. All that smarts, all that vision, all that love focused on you would cut to the core of the problem, revealing truth in a powerful way. Callan never liked to see anyone being hurt, even if the person doing that damage was yourself. Patterns were brought to the top and if you could stand the attention, the reward was huge. Callan knew, though, that only you could heal yourself, so she always fought with tender compassion, working to open the space for your transformation and healing, but being kind when you just weren't ready or able to move on. We are just human, after all, and the best we can do is the best that we can do. A heart can't keep breaking forever. Each human has just so much fight in them, only so much power and endurance. Callan used hers in the best way she could in the times that she lived through. We might try and imagine what she could have done if there had been more family and public acceptance and support of who she was inside, but without her struggles she would have been a different person and not the Callan we knew and that we loved. I wish that Callan was still here to fight with and for me. I will miss her intensity, wit and brilliance, especially in the times when I am struggling. I know, though, that I was very blessed to have her for the time when she could be here to fight with me, to fight for me. If you are very blessed, if you are very very favoured by the universe, then you just might find someone to fight with you as well as Callan fought with me. But Callan, well, I suspect that she was one of a kind.