In Another Life


In Another Life

Once upon a time I used to be an actor…


I performed in commercials, a TV documentary, made-for-TV movies, independent films, various stage productions, and theatre for young audiences. It was performing for a young audience that I found most gratifying. It moved me to see young children engaged in the story that I and my fellow actors were telling through song, dance, and dialogue. It made me feel as though I was a small part of shaping our youth – making an impact and a difference. I’ll never truly know if I did.


Where am I going with this? Well, last Saturday we took our little Liam to his first theatrical show. We explained to him what to expect – live people on a stage (not on a screen), song and music, and story telling through puppetry – and we informed him about the basic rules of theatre etiquette. For a busy 4yr old, he was quite well-behaved at the theatre – engaged in the story and having fun. Glimpsing at Liam throughout the performance, I was moved to see his expressions of joy, wonderment, and excitement. The performers on the stage were making a difference in my son’s life in that very moment. And seeing this connection made me nostalgic. It reminded me of who I once was and what I once loved…


I am not mournful of the life I once led. It is a door that I have chosen to close. To be truthful to myself, having cancer changed me. Life is so precious, and there is still so much I wish to do. I wish to write, to parent my child, to travel and experience the world, to continue my piano studies and my French as a second language studies, and to laugh and love more. I wish to heal my mind, my body, and my spirit. It is difficult to do all of these things when focusing on a career in performance. To be an actor means making many, many sacrifices that most individuals cannot begin to comprehend or even imagine. I made those sacrifices for 10+ years and now, post-cancer, I’m not willing to do so. Do I feel like I failed? Yes, because I never did reach the level of success I had hoped for myself. I carried a lot of guilt and self-loathing, feeling like I failed myself and all of those who believed in me. But, since attending the performance last Saturday, and witnessing the impact it had on my son, I now feel as though I did have several small successes throughout the duration of my career. For every commercial, TV movie, independent film, and stage production that I performed in, it meant that I was chosen over dozens of other [equally talented] individuals. It meant that it was my moment to give, to share, and to shine. Sharing those memories with Liam – talking to him about what Mommy once did – made me realize my personal success. I did it. I kept with it. And, when I admitted I wanted and needed different pursuits for my life, I had the courage to walk away from it.



Life changes us. The experiences we encounter and the challenges we endure shape and mold who we become. I am not the same girl I once was. My aspirations are not the same. My passions are not the same. Knowing and accepting this truth is allowing me the courage to pursue different ambitions, to accept who I now am, and strive to become the person I hope to be. Closing a door does not constitute failure, rather courage to open a door that is unfamiliar (and perhaps a little bit frightening) to you. We may not get to make all our own choices regarding change, but we do get to chose how we wish to move forward. Breast cancer altered me, physically, mentally, and emotionally. This change was not my choice, but I choose to traverse this new path I am on and take opportunities to grow, learn, strengthen, heal, and love.


Once upon a time I used to be an actor…


Have the courage to close the doors that are no longer inviting to you, and open the doors that make your heart flutter, your senses heightened, and your curiosity peaked. Be strong. Have faith. Because you only have this one life. How do you choose to live it?



In Another Life. Published by Crystal Joy Hall

  • Terry Hall

    A great article dear. You were and still are a success. And I don’t say that because I am your Mother that I have to say this. You had the courage to try, you spent time training in New York City at a young age, which was scary for us but exciting for you. You can now go on to bigger and better things. And I know that you can do whatever you set your mind to. Go girl!

    January 10, 2018 at 3:39 PM

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