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  • Writer's pictureBrandilyn Hallcroft

From Poisoned Fantasies to Parisian Realities: The Power of Dreams & Journaling

Updated: May 11

As a child, I dreamt of seeing my favorite band, Poison, live and traveling to Paris, France. Little did I know these childhood dreams would become a reality when I turned 22.

aerial view of Paris France

Childhood Dreams and Disappointment

When I was a kid, I was a huge fan of the band Poison, and I wanted to go to the concert so bad, but my mom said, “You are out of your mind if you think I am going to let an eight-year-old go to a rock concert.” I’ve always used humor to try to convince, so I didn’t give up so easily. I devised a dance route to their song “Mama Let Me Go to the Show.” She said, “That’s cute, but the answer is still no.” That was a solid no with no room for negotiation. I gave up on the idea and had been dreaming about it for years. I had a big crush on Brett Michaels, and I would dream that I was in the front row, where he would see me and get his bouncers to get me and take me backstage to meet the band. The silly things we think about when we are kids. The band ended up breaking up, and by the time I was of age, the dream had faded, but it had never been forgotten.

Dreams Becoming Reality

Fast forward, I was 22 years old, and my boyfriend at the time said, “Hey, did you see Poison get back together, and they are playing a show at Universal Studios?” I didn’t believe him, and he said, “I got us tickets.” WHAT! I went to the show, and it was awesome. The opening band was Cinderella, and I cried because I was so happy to have the opportunity; I couldn’t believe that after all those years, I had a dream come true for me. I didn’t make it backstage… at this show, but I did at another later; that’s another story for another time.

CC DeVille's guitar picks

A Dream Invitation to Paris

That same year, I was the office manager for a company based in Paris, France, the only place I had ever thought of going to from a young age. Over the summer, the company's owner came into town, and he talked to me about Paris. As I questioned him about the old buildings, cobblestone streets, and the famous Eiffel Tower, I had stars in my eyes. I remember him saying, "You should go," I responded, "Someday." 

Two months after the Poison concert, I went to work. I intended to give my two weeks' notice that day because my boss was challenging to work with, and I couldn't stand being there anymore. I came to work as usual and opened the office. I was always the first person there. The phone rang, and it was the manager from the office in Paris. First, she asked for my boss; after telling her he wasn't there, she responded with, "Actually, Brandilyn, I need to speak with you." she went on to say, "We are celebrating our 15th anniversary of the company, and the owner wanted to invite you to Paris as a representative of our office in America." I couldn't believe my ears. There was a moment of silence, and she said, "Do you want to come? We will pay for your flight and hotel, get you a metro pass, a private city tour, and your food at the hotel." I wanted to scream, and with tears streaming down my face, I said, "Yes, of course," trying not to sound too excited and keeping my cool. She said, "Great, I will begin the arrangements. Do you have your passport?" I said, "No, not yet," she said, "The celebration is in four weeks, and you need to expedite your passport." I responded with, "I will do it today." She said, "Okay, when your boss gets in, tell him to call the office." We ended the conversation.

I hung up the phone and called the federal office (This was in 2001, so the internet didn't have the information I needed yet.) They told me I needed my birth certificate, but I didn't have it. I got off the phone, ran downstairs, and called my mom. At this point, I am hysterically crying. I was so excited. I called my mom at work. She answered and heard me crying, and I could detect the panic in her voice as she asked me, "What's wrong?" it was a struggle to get the words out, so I just screamed, "I'm going to Paris" in her ear. "WHAT!" she responds. Then I say, "I need my birth certificate so I can get my passport in four weeks." She didn't even respond to the second statement. Instead, she says, "You're going to Paris!" Through my tears, I could tell her what happened, and then she started crying, knowing that Paris was the place I had spoken of my entire life. Then she told me, "I don't have your birth certificate; you need to order it from the state of Wyoming." I felt defeated as I thought, "Oh no, this is going to take too long." then she told me, "Call your father. He's a state worker, and I bet he can help you." I responded with, "Okay, by love you." I hung up to call my dad.

 When I called my dad and told him what was going on, he told me he would make a couple of calls and get me in touch with whom I needed to talk to to get my birth certificate. I was able to get it ordered that morning, and I received it within three days. As soon as I got it, I opened it up and noticed my name was spelled wrong. Instead of saying Brandilyn Christine Hallcroft, it said Brandilyn Cristin Hallcroft, “CRISTIN! That’s not my name.” I called my mom and told her my name was spelled wrong, and she told me, “Oh, it says Cristin, right.” Surprised that she knew already, I said, “YES! How did you know?” she replied, “Well, they spelled your name wrong when you were born, and instead of paying to get it fixed, we just left it and called you Christine because that’s what we wanted your name to be anyway.” I responded, “OH MY GAWD, I DON’T EVEN KNOW MY OWN NAME! How did you not expect me to be totally screwed up when I didn’t even learn what my name was until I was 22 years old!?” she just laughed. Whatever… I still call myself Christine, even though it’s not my “legal” name. 

I went directly to the federal office in Los Angeles and ordered my birth certificate expedited. Five days later, I had my passport; I was officially going to Paris. I told everyone I knew, and I was beyond excited. Some people were apprehensive and called me crazy for even thinking about leaving the country; it was only a month after 9-11, and the terrorist attack was still fresh. Anytime I got a response that wasn’t supportive, I responded with, “This could be my only chance to go to the one place I have always dreamed up, so I am going to Paris, or I am going to die trying.”

A Magical Experience in Paris

Arriving in Paris, the office manager greeted me and took me to my hotel. Despite being sick, nothing could dampen my spirits. On my first day, I woke up early and got ready. The office manager was waiting for me in the lobby, where she handed me a cell phone in case I got lost, emphasizing its minimal use due to high costs at the time. She also mentioned I could call my mom if needed, but I saved that call for later. We toured the offices, one in the city and the other an hour away in the French countryside. The drive was beautiful. When I realized my hair dryer didn't work due to different power outlets, a tech guy engineered a solution. After a shower back at the hotel, I accidentally caused a power outage trying to use it. The manager intervened, and the office manager kindly brought me a working hair dryer. We arrived at a 1500s building ready for the celebration, where I bonded with the owner's daughters, danced to "Born to Be Alive," and made lasting memories.

Eiffel Tower
This is me in 2001 across the street from the Eiffel Tower

 I embarked on my tour of the Eiffel Tower. Surprised by its hidden location, I eventually found it and conquered my fear of heights by going to the top. I bought a necklace as a memento and called my mom to share the experience. After a delicious Parisian breakfast, I joined a private tour, enjoying the company of just two others. We revisited the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe and drove down The Champs-Elysees, marveling at the architecture and history of Paris. My favorite part of Paris was Montmarte, the square in the center where all the artists are creating, which is a creative dream. I walked the circle, watching the artists paint, draw, and use charcoals. It was one of the coolest things I had ever seen. I also got to go to Salvador Dali's sculpture museum, where the famous May West Lip couch was.

I spent my last day seeing Jim Morrison's grave at the Cimetière du Père-Lachaise, then Touring Versailles with one of my US coworker's sister. The most amazing thing I remember about Versallie was the seemingly endless garden. I was standing with my coworker's sister, looking out at the garden, and I recall her saying, "Isn't it beautiful? You can almost hear the sounds of a horse and buggy going through there." Right then, a horse and buggy appeared in the distance, coming from behind some high hedges; we both laughed. We ended the evening at an authentic pizza place that she knew of. The owner was from Italy, so I also tasted Italy in Paris. I flew home the next day. 

Lasting Memories

The memories of both seeing my favorite band live and the city I always dreamed of in the same year are memories that I will treasure forever. When I think back to those moments in my life, I realize how blessed I am, and my time in Paris will always remain the best five days of my life, that is, until I return someday.

The Power of Journaling and Dreams

After my return from Paris, I went to my mom's house for Christmas. One of my Christmas gifts was two journals she found that were mine when I was a kid. One Journal was a prompt journal I wrote in when I was eleven, and there were two questions:

If you had one wish, what would it be? I wrote, "I would be twenty-two years old and at a Poison concert."

The other was if you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? I wrote that I would be twenty-two years old and in Paris. I don't know why twenty-two was the magical number for me at eleven.

Reflecting on my childhood dreams, I realized the power of journaling. At age eleven, I wrote in a journal that I wanted to be twenty-two at a Poison concert and in Paris. Both dreams came true at twenty-two, showing the incredible influence of setting intentions and journaling.

Whoever would have thought that I would become a creator of journals myself, it certainly wasn't on my mind until I was in my forties, but it makes sense knowing, considering how much journaling has influenced my life. I can only hope that my work will help make dreams come true for others, too.

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