My name is Daniel. I’m from Guanajuato, Mexico.
And when I was 15 years old, I moved to the United States, specifically Reno, Nevada. Ever since when I was a little kid, I always dreamed of opening my own gym and starting my own brand of shorts. I found out about Austin being a big fitness city, when I was in high school. I used to watch a lot of fitness people on YouTube and follow a lot of fitness people on Facebook back in the day, and one thing that I saw is that they used to go on a lot of gym tours in the whole state of Texas. And a lot of those gyms were locally owned and every single gym that they visited had a personality. And that’s pretty much what dragged me to hopefully one day move to Texas and do the same thing and start my own gym with my own personality.
So the spring of 2021, I moved to Austin, Texas. For the first time in my life, I felt like I was very full of energy and very motivated to finally move to the city that I dreamt of my whole life, pretty much since when I was 15. Another thing is that I found out that Austin was a big LGBTQ-friendly city, so that was another thing that I was very excited about because I never really got to live in a city like that before. So my first year in Austin was a dream.
It was kind of like a honeymoon stage. I got to make a lot of friends. It’s a very friendly city, so everybody talks to you. I got to have a lot of fun. I started going out a lot. That was a way to meet people. That was a way to get more involved with my community and also get to know the city a little bit more. All of that was making me happy, all the way from drinking to dancing all night, to just getting to meet so many people every time I would go out.
I didn’t realize that that became not enjoyable, and in a way I was still doing it and I still felt the necessity of doing it, but deep inside of me, I was not happy. It made me really anxious and very depressed. It also made me feel like a failure because the whole point of me moving to the city was to pursue my dreams of starting my own gym and creating my own shorts brand.
New Year’s 2022, I was supposed to meet my friends downtown. They ended up not showing up because they got stuck in a party, and I ended up just hanging out by myself downtown all night drinking and getting very drunk to the point that I just almost blacked out. I barely remember everything that happened. My phone died. I ended up walking from downtown Austin to South Austin by myself, drunk overnight.
That year, I decided to take it a little bit easier while at the same time still on the social side, even though there was things that I was doing, like trying to not miss out on every single thing that was happening, just because I thought people were going to forget about me.
That it was this time, a few months after the New Year’s 2022, where I got invited to a house party. It was a pool party. I was having a conversation with someone that I met there, and this person was flirting with me pretty hardcore, and I just keep saying no because it takes me a very long time to be into someone. He got very upset and to the point that he got really offended, I told him that I just didn’t really like to be part of the hookup culture. That was just my own decision. There was nothing wrong with that, but it’s something that I didn’t want to do.
He pretty much started calling me homophobic or saying things like, “Oh, you have a lot of internalized homophobia and you’re not happy with yourself because you’re judging us.” Which at the same time I was not, I was just saying that, Oh, I don’t really want to do this. It’s just not me.
After that party, I remember feeling like a very boring person. Once again, I went back into the whole partying and the hookup culture because I felt very insecure about that situation, and I was once again on the same boat that I was in at the beginning of the year.
So then a few months after that, when I realized that I was still doing the whole partying and things that were not making me happy, I met someone that I, for the first time in my life, I felt very attracted to. I started hanging out with him a lot, and I realized that both of us were in very different positions in our lives. He was thriving and he was doing really great for himself, and I was not. And although we were not officially dating, we spent a lot of time together.
I became very vulnerable with this person for the first time, which realizing that I was not at his level and also becoming vulnerable was not a good combination. When things ended with this person, I got really sad and I got extremely depressed for the first time, and that’s when I decided to stop drinking for a long time.
It also made me wake up and made me actually get myself back on track. It is time for me to actually get it together and actually take decisions for myself without thinking about others. I decided to sign up for my personal training certification for the first time, something that I’ve been putting off for so long.
It also made me wake up and made me actually get myself back on track.
I decided to join some groups here in Austin that focused on entrepreneurship and starting your own business. I applied to work at one of my favorite gyms in town, finally got a job, and I’m very excited to learn a lot about what it means to own a gym, what it means to manage a gym. And I realized that I could have been doing this for so long if I never really cared what other people thought of me, and I never really focused too much on trying to keep up with everyone else. And also to learn what boundaries were and to learn what putting my happiness first was.