Stranger Love – Lessons From Falling In Love With A Stranger


Love is a complex piece of human nature. Love can feel especially complicated when your gender and your genitals don’t exactly match in the “traditional” way. With the variety of different types of love out there, it can be an overwhelmingly wonderful experience to be had. If you’re lucky, you get to experience the type of love that flips your world upside down. The kind that fills your veins and consumes your heart. That is the most intoxicating form of love that I’ve ever experienced in my life, and I’ve been lucky to have two relationships derive from that form of intoxication.

However, I’m not here to talk about those two relationships, but instead of the type of love I experienced when I first met a woman named Amanda. She was one of the most radiant souls that I had ever come across. Her smile, her scent, her eyes were all the elements of a cocktail that made me feel drunk in love. Any time that I had the pleasure to be in her presence, the Earth seemed to move under my feet.

At this point, I’m sure you’re curious as to when I finally succumbed to my adoration, and finally asked her out. See, that’s kind of the complexity about love, it’s rarely just about the feelings of love that allow you to be or be with an amazing partner. I’d almost go as far as to say that love is probably the smallest brick of which relationships build upon. Things like Trust, acceptance, and oh, your muse actually being aware of your love seem to land higher on the list.

She was with someone when I first accidentally developed feelings for her, and it was someone she had been with long term. They had what appeared on the outside to be a solid and tender relationship that made her happy. In the whole scheme of things, her happiness was ultimately what I wished for her, therefore, I wouldn’t interfere with that. But from afar, she was, to me, a powerhouse femme who walked on water and had a smile that could brighten a thousand cities.

Time passed, and her partnership began to crumble, and eventually word on the street was that she was open to dating new folks. I secretly was over the moon, and practicing in my mind how I would ask this majestic soul out for a cup of coffee and conversation. I wanted to wear the right outfit, comb my hair, and have all the right words for her. I even went as far as to look in a mirror and practice not being such an awkward guy.

One day though, I looked into the mirror and into my own eyes. All my insecurities began to flood my mind about how I wasn’t good enough for this woman. I don’t have a career, I am a minimalist who wears the same pair of pants every day, I work a lot, and to top it off I struggle with depression, no self esteem, and anxiety induced panic. How could I be the partner this majestic soul deserved, when I wasn’t well put together myself? The answer to me was that I couldn’t, and that I was ultimately just not good enough for her.

So, against the nudges from my soul, I stayed away and tried to better myself in hopes that one day, I’d become the best version of myself, and would sweep her off her feet. I daydreamed that I would take her out and be the funniest guy, all because her smile and laugh were the moon and the stars to me. I would pictures making us picnics, going to movies, taking hikes, laughing endlessly, and of what it would be like if we ever kissed. Those thoughts would motivate me to continue moving forward in becoming a self-loving and healthy man. Time, however, didn’t seem to be on our side though. I assumed that I would always have the opportunity to tell her my hearts desires. It would be waiting for me when I was ready. It never once occurred to me that she may be in a bad space herself, or be dealing with her own challenges. I was so determined to become amazing, that I didn’t see what was happening in her world.

She took her own life in the late summer, I found out while I was at work. At first I didn’t put two and two together, so I didn’t think it was her. But soon it clicked. I felt like the wind had been knocked out of my heart. I couldn’t understand why this woman who I literally think is one of the most beautiful confident beings to walk this Earth, could ever want to harm herself, let alone take her own life.

There were many factors that contributed to her sadness, and I am well aware that there is probably nothing I could have done to prevent this from happening. But, I can’t help but wonder what would’ve happened if I had told her the one sentence I’ve always wanted to say to her, “I love you, and I really like that you exist in this world.” Saying those words in my head makes my heartache because it’s not the truth anymore. Her soul is no longer bringing the world the magic that it had been prior to that awful day.

Sometimes I feel really stupid with how deep my heart is mourning for her. We didn’t know each other beyond casual, and to be honest, I doubt she even knew my last name. I just can’t help how much it hurts to see pictures of her and remember I could’ve just opened my mouth and told her the truth. I feel almost like I’m weeping for a love that may have been.

I keep swirling in my head about things I could’ve done differently, and how much it would’ve been nice to sit across from her having coffee and a lovely conversation. I always imagine I would just get lost in her eyes whilst she tells me stories about her life and chosen path. The heart is such a tricky thing, being able to build such strong feelings from a safe distance.

It’s been almost a year since she passed away, and I still think about her often, every day even. I like to think her beautiful soul is happy and at peace. This a wake up call to me that I need to get my depression/insecurities in check, and that this amazing life gives one chance for you to take, or let pass by..

When a magnanimous being walks into your world, there should be no reason why you shouldn’t have the confidence to say hi. I wake up in the morning remembering that I need to be proactive with people and ideas that I will to pursue, and to remember to take a moment to appreciate my plot in this life. That every moment is meant to be celebrated, experienced, and respected.

I have a tattoo dedicated to her to keep my adoration for her close to me, but also to remind me that there are no guarantees in life when it comes to the world and people around me. I don’t ever want to miss out on something wonderful because of my own fears or insecurities. I want to become the man that would’ve been good enough, and brave enough for a soul like Amanda, and a person I am proud of. I want to learn how to celebrate the little things of life that make all the pain worth trucking through.

I hope somewhere, and somehow, Amanda knows that her existence in this world brought so many great feelings to my life, for no other reason than she was a part of it. I hope she can feel the amount of love and support our community still has for her, and will always have for her memory and spirit. She was loved and touched by everyone who came in contact with her, and I just happened to be one of those lucky people. Perhaps in the next of these moments life puts in front of me, I’ll be able to accept the gift they are.

Matthew Clarke
I am a queer transgendered man who lives to eat food and be a conspiracy theorist. Art, music, activism, politics, human emotions, and ancient history are what flow through my veins to give me life.


  1. Beautiful and tragic story Mathew. I didn’t see it coming and felt a gut-punch not only because of what happened but because my daughter’s name is the same as hers.

  2. As someone once told me about my excuses why we couldn’t be together for a night, “it doesn’t fucking matter”. She was right. I let go of myself, and made myself completely emotionally vulnerable to her. And we created a beautiful moment I will never forget for as long as I live. Being risk-averse when it comes to love has its place, but too often it prevents us from truly experiencing life, and leaves us only with regrets of what could have been.


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