(This is another first for The Luke Norris Experience. Welcome to the first “Up Close and Personal” piece written by someone other than myself. Call it a guest post if you like. As you well know, I’ve been working with Binge Media for some time now, creating a nice following with Binge Sports. Last year, they added a movie correspondent, Garrett Collins, to assist with some of the reviews and podcasts, even creating a new show called the Binge Movie Aftertaste. Listen to the most recent show HERE. His knowledge of film is unparalleled and honestly, his written movie reviews are the only ones on the internet that I ever read. That’s not just hype for the site. That’s actual fact. But there’s so much more to this man. Look, I’ve never actually met Garrett. He’s out on the west coast while I reside here in central Illinois, but over the past few months, I’ve done numerous podcasts with him and had so many great conversations with him off the air, and I can say with complete certainty that not only is he great at what he does, he’s a great person and I’m proud to consider him a colleague and a friend. Garrett’s a busy guy with a lot going on, so when he asked to use The Luke Norris Experience as an outlet to get some things off of his chest, it was a no-brainer. Below is a powerful piece from Garrett about life, dreams, sadness, but most of all, hope. Enjoy.)
There I sat. In a packed car, sitting on the edge of freeway traffic whizzing by, as the sweltering sun hit my face and beads of sweat slowly moved down my face. The contemplation was done, and I had made up my mind. A shiny steak knife was in my left wrist, pointed logistically at my right. What made this decision ring even more true to me was how three highway policemen had moved past me without a purpose. It was finally going to happen. I was set to check out, wondering what my final thought would be as my final moment passed. Right before doing so, something crossed my mind. And that something was the question of how did it come to this? How is it that two weeks before I was present at the premiere of a film I in fact produced? This was supposed to be a happy time. Why did my mental capabilities feel the need to fulfill my life’s promise like this? How does someone go from the proud arrival in his parents’ arms to just wanting to give it all up? And how long before my body would follow suit?
I know. That is a lot of questions to start an article off. Before I get into the answers to all these questions and more, let me give a bit background on myself. Because most people who come to this blog are probably looking to read what is going on in Mr. Norris’ life and probably has no idea who the hell this person he gave the space to is blabbing away. My name is Garrett Collins and I work with Luke at a little site called Binge Media.
While he handles sports, I handle a lot of the film side of things. My show I host over there, called the Binge Movie Aftertaste, is one of the most fun things I have ever had the pleasure of doing. In addition to doing hosting duties and writing reviews & opinion pieces for the site, I also make movies. My first production, the already mentioned Refuge, has been striding toward the festival circuit. With at least three other projects on the horizon, including a film produced with my podcast hosting partner Jason Morris and starring Lance Henriksen, are all stuck in development hell. The dream of making movies has happened. So why am I not content? Because I felt the need to ignore the things most adults pay dapper attention to in order to chase a dream.
Close human relationships are essential to living. This type of contact is needed for support. I always thought I could get away with not having it, and just chasing the dream. But emotionally, I tend to push away instead of open myself up. Unlike most of my colleagues, I do not have a family or supportive significant other. These are things that I am missing, and my statement of individuality was by ignoring this problem. In doing research for a new project involving suicide cults, I learned the exact way of cutting a vein so that it would leave the cutter to die quick and painlessly. This was supposed to be used for authenticity. Not personal fulfillment.
A job loss can be a detrimental thing. But the fact is that I did not have a family to support and only myself. But word came down that the huge company I had been working for was doing some downsizing. Another personal note: I had filed for bankruptcy the year before. The downhill rolling of boulders would not stop. For two weeks, I applied and was rejected. Sometimes being told by even fast food kitchens that I had not been up to par with at least two other applicants going for the same job. How can someone go from working behind a desk to going to a starving man not able to get one job?
So why would I go on and on about this? Because I want to tell people feeling the lowest of the low that there is hope. I was feeling selfish. Evidence being once I did finally get a good job, my body rejected it. On the 4th of July, I was getting ready to go to a party when all I can describe as the most violent of stomach pains hit me following a bout with bloody urine. When people say pain hits them like a ton of bricks, I can’t help thinking they have experienced appendicitis. With a stroke of luck I was with someone who could get me to the hospital, and I fathom to think what would have happened if I did not have that luxury. All the signs were there. Even when things were crumbling around me, the lights of hope were just that.
Thing is, all of this could have been prevented. When someone tells you to ‘grow up,’ usually there is a tough love motive. By ignoring all warnings, my body started rejecting me. My point in writing this article is not to selfishly get my story out there. It is to warn any and all readers out there that if your body or mind talks to you, don’t ignore them. Your body tells you to ‘grow up,’ please listen. And no matter what, you are selfishly negating people of your presence and love if you end it. I have no idea why, but I put that knife away that day. I decided to metaphorically and physically give myself another chance. People around you will talk to you like you love them, and you can take what they say any which way you can. But when your body tells you otherwise, don’t ignore it. All you are doing is making it worse. That knife went away, and my life got back on track. I know yours has just as much hope.
I want to thank Luke a ton for giving me this space to talk to you all. I hope your desecration is not being looked at through rose colored glasses, but also not ignored. Now I have made a residence in Los Angeles and am at a job I know will lead to the dreams I have worked so hard at. But I have also grown to be unselfish and as for you, I know that if you work at it, it will improve. Thank you.