I intentionally chose this upcoming Wednesday to quit my job because immediately after, and I mean immediately, I would be too immersed in playwriting jobs to think too much about whether or not I made a mistake.

At the time, it felt smart. It gave me control of what felt like an uncontrollable situation.

That was until the rejection letters started pouring. O’Neill? Hard no. The Lark? No. Henley Rose? They didn’t even send a rejection letter this year. The two residencies I can’t name yet for some reason because they haven’t yet announced the “winners/fellows”? Nope. Nada. Literally everything I had applied to came back with a no.

And like rejection is hard in normal circumstances. But when you literally just left your job to be a playwright and then no opportunities present themselves?

Well f*ck.

The logical side of me tries to remind myself that, financially, I was prepared to get nothing and still be okay from now until June. I had enough saved. It would all be fine.

But the emotional side of me was like “I’m an idiot. I didn’t get into anything. And I just quit my job. Now I’m screwed. My job made it SUPER clear I can’t be like ‘lol never mind.’ What am I gonna do? Do I work fast food? Should I try to get a job at a bookstore?”

And then the spiral continues. And then I have a panic attack at work and go outside just so no one sees me. And then I go home and cry and stare at my plays and wonder I thought I could do this when I’m not actually a good writer….

That’s been me for the last five days. Panic. Panic Attack. Tears. Go to bed early. Wake up through the night. Finally decide to stay awake around 6 am. Panic. Panic Attack. Tears. Go to bed early. Wake up–

You get it.

I’ve been chugging Red Bulls to make it through the day like I’m in college again. Only difference is in college I was busy. Now I’m just depressed.

I woke this morning, determined to break the cycle. I woke up, went on a walk, and decided to just focus on the exciting things and not the existential dread of “Did I just make the biggest mistake of my life?”

So let’s start over.

I intentionally chose this upcoming Wednesday to quit my job because immediately after, and I mean immediately, I would be too immersed in playwriting jobs to think too much about whether or not I made a mistake.

On Thursday, I fly out to Pittsfield, Massachusetts to do some field work/research on a play I was commissioned to write. And I gotta say there are some moments in this play that I can’t believe I wrote. And some of the monologues…I hope I get to see this play on its feet at least once just to hear some of the monologues.

And the play is about something important. And could be really meaningful to the community.

All of that is great. And then to be super honest, this will be the first time this calendar year I will be able to travel specifically for playwriting. And I’ve been missing that like crazy.

If I hadn’t quit my job, I wouldn’t have been able to really appreciate any of this because the kind of job I had I did 24/7. And maybe that’s my fault. Maybe I should’ve drawn a clearer boundary. But I don’t understand how anyone who works on the personnel side of theatre can draw that boundary without letting multiple things fail.

The last three times I left for playwriting while I had my job I worried the whole time about work and didn’t really get to enjoy doing the work I actually love. It was draining.

For once, I can be somewhere and really be there.

So I spend four days in Pittsfield, I fly back Sunday night.

And then starting Monday, literally the morning after I fly in, I start working on another play. With a local theatre company. That is literally across the street from job.

Story time: The final push to quit my job was the day I realized if I kept working at my job, I would have to miss the reading of my play. Literally across the street. The first reading of my play is on the same day of a big performer coming into town and the second reading of my play is the same day as a major show at work.

So I would miss MY OWN PLAY at a company I’ve wanted to work with for YEARS……..for what exactly?

I had to go.

So not only do I get to work on a play I adore, it’s with a company that’s local AND pretty much every time I think of it, I also feel really empowered. It’s like for the first time in my life I made a choice not based on surviving but based on my career.

And we work on the play for two weeks. And my dramaturg will be there too. And maybe I’ll actually recognize people in the audience.

Literally everything about that experience will be amazing.

Oh! And also, in addition to working on all these plays, I will also be the artistic director of a community theatre and really getting back to grassroots arts organizations.

It’s so easy to get lost in all the million rejections. The emptiness awful not-knowing-ness. So, so much is out of my control.

But how I react to it (for the most part) is my choice.

The other thing I have to keep reminding myself is despite what anyone says, I did think this through. I have a plan. The plan is solid. It only feels reckless because it’s not what I’m used to but it’s also not impossible.

I guess my point to all of this is this:

Back in 2012 on my birthday, I got in this horrible, awful car accident. My car was completely totaled. And I mean completely. Somehow I walked out of the car. Somehow I didn’t die. And I remember standing there watching the cars watching me, feeling how the wind was about to knock me over and thinking

“Holy f*ck. I’m okay. I don’t know how I’m okay. But I’m okay.”

It’s all okay.