• Karen Driscoll

Shoot Your Shot

Today's culture encourages both men and women to shoot their shot in hopes that it’ll turn suitor into significant other. Francella was way ahead of the times 3 years ago when she met Diego. She was attending a concert as a part of the NCLR conference in Kansas City, MO. During the concert, Diego, a musician, was called on stage with his band Making Movies. Francella spotted him on the keyboard and thought he was so cute. Diego finished his set and Francella’s good friends - Gabi and Jason - pumped her up to make a move. Thanks to her hype team, Francella fought back her fear, approached Diego at the bar, and said, “I’d love to buy you a beer but you already have one.” Before Diego could respond, Francella ran away! Luckily, Diego spotted Francella before he left and the two finished the night at a jazz club together.

The next day, they had dinner. Diego, not one for small talk, probed Francella about her greatest fear. Francella shared her fear of not meeting her own ambition and Diego countered with his fear of losing his mind so much so that he couldn't recognize himself. In this moment, Francella realized that she hadn’t had such a real and deep conversation so quickly before. She fell in love with Diego immediately. Diego’s descent into love, however, was more gradual.

Francella returned to D.C. while Diego stayed in Kansas City. Diego went on tour shortly after their first date so the two spent weeks talking on the phone. Diego remembers, “my love began to unravel in those weeks on the phone.” During one conversation, Francella talked about a new show she was into called Mr. Robot. The main character struggled with mental health issues and various levels of depression. Diego connected with the character because he too had worked through many of the same things. He believed that if Francella could love this fictional character then she could love him too.

So why did Francella and Diego choose each other? Francella shares, “it happened the moment I saw him on that keyboard. I can’t describe it but it was immediate. Diego has never looked for someone to fix him. He’s spent a lot of time growing and evolving on his own. He wanted a partner to inspire him and so did I. I knew that he would be that for me.”

Diego says, “I chose her after our first date when I decided to call her. I thought about that for while. As a musician, I had a lot of short-term relationships and one long distance relationship. I knew I wasn’t doing long distance again unless it was viable. Francella accepted me where I was and we had such a similar background. I felt understood.”

Francella and Diego have cultivated a deep connection despite their relationship having started as long distance. Since Diego is a working musician, the two have recognized that distance is an ever-present dynamic in their relationship. But they’ve learned to use it to their benefit. They have a common goal to have a strong partnership, so they’ve created experiences that help them grow together. In the beginning of their relationship, Francella and Diego would read the same book or go to the same movie at the same time in different cities. This allowed them to share common experiences while also being fully independent of one another when necessary.

Francella and Diego describe the greatest joy of their relationship as respect and acceptance. Francella says, “I really respect and value Diego’s opinion on a thousand different subjects. We can have a good conversation and healthy debate about anything. I ask his advice on everything. And he has such good style. He wants us to be parallel in our style whether casual or fancy.” Diego shares, “the greatest joy has been knowing how accepted I am. As a performer, I have a public persona. People think they have an idea of who I might be. That can make it difficult for people to know who I really am. Francella accepts every facet of who I am in my most private and public moments. That’s what keeps me falling in love.”

Francella and Diego plan to get married next year. This will be a unique and special union. The two are a bit unorthodox in that they’ve agreed to be in a relationship until they’re not growing anymore. If either feels like they’ve stopped growing, then they will let their relationship run its course. As committed and intentional as they’ve been thus far, it’s evident that they’re aiming for forever!


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