Diana Gonzalez is the kind of woman who gets her magnificent hair done, laughs and plays in the studio with me for an hour, and then goes home and lays flooring in her house with power tools. She is loving and soft-spoken, strong and opinionated, generous and kind. She loves ice-skating and hiking, she’s a professional gardener, and she’s the mother of two grown sons, Nico and Gabe.
When we met back in November to view her finished portraits, she answered (my version of) the Proust Questionnaire.
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Being able to talk to all those close to you about everything and still love each other.
What is your greatest fear? Being rejected or not liked.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? That I pretend to be really strong but I’m weaker inside. I portray that strong powerful woman and I can actually come crashing down in private.
Which living person do you most admire? My boys.
What is your greatest extravagance? Traveling.
What is your current state of mind? Excited about turning 60.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? The pressure to be nice under every circumstance. There are some days I wish I could just say what I think.
On what occasion do you lie? When it’ll protect somebody’s feelings.
What do you most dislike about your appearance? That I have spots on my face. But then so does everybody else when I really look at it. We’re all flawed, we’re just always looking for that perfection. We need to be more accepting of self.
Which living person do you most despise? I don’t despise people, I just despise how people prioritize their lives.
What is the quality you most like in a man? The gentleman.
What is the quality you most like in a woman? I like it when women can compliment each other, versus making it a competition.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Shit!
What or who is the greatest love of your life? The sun.
When and where were you happiest? Okinawa, Japan for a year and a half, when I was in the Air Force. Every day was happy – I was young, the beach, people, the beach, work, the beach. I didn’t want to leave.
Which talent would you most like to have? Playing the guitar.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I would have been more assertive at a younger age. There are many things I’ve changed about myself; I’ve learned to be more vocal. I’m ok with who I am now; I’ve got my wings now.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Raising my boys and still being connected with them. They still like to hang out with me.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? A bird.
Where would you most like to live? Near mountains and lakes.
What’s your love language? Quality time.
What is your most treasured possession? Knick knacks from my boys, pottery they made in school.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? I’ve had sadness, a lot of sadness, from a brother who passed away. But misery – I don’t know that I’ve had misery.
What is your favorite occupation? Construction or building things. I love to work power tools. I just finished laying two floors in my house.
What is your most marked characteristic? I’m patient with people.
What do you most value in your friends? That we can just be open and tell it as it is.
When you read, do you prefer fiction or non-fiction? Non-fiction.
Who are your heroes in real life? My mom, for nurturing all us kids (5 boys, 2 girls) on the farm.
What are your favorite names? My sons’ names, Antonio and Gabriel.
What is it that you most dislike? When people aren’t nice to each other.
What is your greatest regret? Probably when I joined the military and I thought that I should go into the administrative field versus mechanics, which was the field that I tested higher in. Back then you did the normal women roles.
How would you like to die? With my boys around me in some natural place, maybe near the water.
What is your motto? One life, live it up!