1. Let's start with the basics. Tell us your name and where you're from? Where do you currently live? Tell us the top three best things about it! Lastly, if you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?
My Name is Heather Marie Gonzalez and I am from West Hills, California (yes, a true valley girl). I currently live in Sneads Ferry, North Carolina. The top three best things about living here is that I am 4 miles away from the beach, there are a variety of base gyms I can pick and choose from all ranging from 5 mins-30 mins away, and I get to experience what the East Coast is all about, coming from the West Coast! If I could live anywhere, I would live in Hawaii because of how beautiful the entire island is and how many things there are to do outside; everything there is just so beautiful and simple.
2. You are a former marine, which is super badass in itself! Now you’re a veteran and a military wife! How have you adjusted from going from Marine to veteran and also from being dual military with your husband to now a Marine wife? What is your favorite part of being out of the military, and do you ever miss it? What is the greatest thing you’ve taken away from the Marine Corps?
It is definitely an adjustment, but I definitely think it came naturally. When you're in the Marines, everyone's watching you, whether it's watching to assess your proficiency and conduct, to watch you fail, or being watched from younger ranks of every move to either follow, or to find fault in. Being a Veteran is much different, and nice to know I can live my life without being judged about each and every decision I make and knowing the trust and faith I carry within myself is all I need to count on to carry out a task. Being dual Military and separated by location caused us both to work around both work schedules and time zones. We planned trips to visit each other but never really good have a steady routine until I transitioned out and being a Marine wife is just as difficult but allows me to do my best to be there for him whenever possible so that our home life is steady. It helps being able to understand the lingo, or if he just had one of those days, I know not to ask too many questions because I've been there. My favorite part of being out of the Military is that I can make a simple decision and not get in trouble for it by 10 other people or explain myself to anyone because it does not affect anyone else but myself. I miss it at times, the motivation, being in the "suck" together, the constant competition of fitness, rank, knowledge, and being squared away, but it's something I can look back on and smile about now. The greatest thing I have taken away from the Marine Corps is that you will never be successful unless you put in the work; if you give the least amount of effort, you may stay around the Marine Corps and not do anything significant, but if you give your best, do your best, every single day and always remember there is room to improve, then one day, you will be as successful as you have ever dreamed, but no one can do it for you.
3. If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be and why? Do you believe that you portray these things to people around you and to the people on social media?
Kind-Hearted, Passionate, Energetic. Kind-Hearted because everything I do has a purpose, and if you know me at all, everything is done or thought from the kindness out of my heart and not a place of hatred; I try to do unto others as I wish they would do unto me and was raised with a good foundation of religion growing up. Passionate because if I do something day in and day out, it's with everything I have; I do things whole heartedly and my passions include fitness, writing, outdoor adventures, traveling, pictures, cooking, baking and making people smile or laugh. Energetic because, if you know me a little, I am a complete goof ball and will make fun of myself just to make light out of a situation. I love having a funny, bubbly attitude when I am around friends and family and that is when I am my true self! I do portray these things to people around me to an extent, I am in a sense more of an introvert, although I have my times where I am very outgoing when I am comfortable and sometimes I just go for it. Vibes are everything; I do portray some of this on social media, but it is social media and not everyone is going to read captions or see a picture the way I want others to see it due to our own perspectives, and not everyone knows my story so it is hard to say if I do portray all these words in my public feed because these are very simple but very personal qualities as well.
4. You are prepping for a figure competition! What led to your love for bodybuilding, and what made you decide to take it to the next level and compete? How do you keep yourself motivated to stay on track with your diet and training? Other than the physical changes, how has fitness affected your mentality about life and the way you see yourself?
Ultimately feeling confident led to my love for bodybuilding. I have always been extremely passionate for fitness, but until I faced an injury and was never truly happy with the way I looked, when I learned how to lift and truly body build I began doing hours of research. Body building became a sense of therapy, healed many physical injuries, and completely changed my entire body and I have spent many late nights, early mornings, lonely days, and hurt days in the gym; I began to feel strong, powerful and overall confident and proud of myself for not fitting in with society of what everyone else thought was beautiful but what I felt most beautiful as. I get chills when I talk about this but, taking things to the next level to compete has been something I've wanted to do since 2015. The amount of confidence and swag the women have truly inspired me and I want to feel those same things, to be the reason that someone changes their life even if they have gone through hell and cannot even look at themselves in the mirror and recognize themselves, I want to inspire that woman that is about to give up on herself and show her she has control of her life; that's why I want to compete. It's simple, if I want results, it's mind over matter and it is subconsciously knowing that if I go on stage and I am upset with whatever placement I am at because I know I could have done better, that motivates me to stay on track. If I am not confident going on stage, I simply will regret the hours and weeks of hard work I SHOULD have put in. Fitness has affected my mentality in a positive state of mind. It has allowed me to see how far I have come in life and know I can really do anything I truly want out of life. Fitness has also changed the way I see myself in many ways, but mostly I see myself and see strength and beauty; I feel prettiest in the gym believe it or not.
5. What keeps you positive and on fire for life? What brings you the most passion? If you had to choose one thing to focus on for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Knowing that I haven't fully outlived my potential is what keeps me positive and on fire for life. I have this vision and these dreams that I am just thrilled to get to; I am not done yet, I am just beginning. Knowing that there is more to life brings me the most passion. That it is life is not about the superficial things but about living, and I know there is so much more for me to experience and go through, that alone gives me goosebumps. If I had to choose one thing to focus on for the rest of my life, it would be telling my story, and helping others overcome any demons they have or had in their life that have caused them to tell themselves that they "can't."