Scarred for Life
My friend Chrissa and I were having one of our phone marathons recently, and we got to talking about our kindergarten days. (We both attended CSA Makati from kindergarten to high school.) I asked her if she could recall the time we were required to view a morbidly detailed presentation about the life and death of Lorenzo Ruiz, the first Filipino saint. For her it was only a vague memory; I could still remember it like it was yesterday.
It was the anniversary of Lorenzo Ruiz’ canonization, and for some crazy reason the school administration thought it was a good idea to present a diorama depicting the events that made him a martyr to a bunch of impressionable five- and six-year-olds. The guy was tortured for refusing to denounce his faith. His captors hung him upside down with his head buried in muck, drove metal spikes under his fingernails, and jumped on his stomach after forcing him to drink copious amounts of water. Now picture all that in lifelike miniature. I had nightmares after seeing that diorama!
They say early childhood trauma greatly affects how a person turns out later in life. Could that gruesome display be partly to blame for Chrissa’s and my slight strangeness? Could that premature awareness of water torture be the reason that I have to pee every other minute and that Chrissa drinks much less than the recommended eight glasses a day? Could that morbid diorama be why we were the only two people out of a packed movie house who laughed out loud when a guy—strapped to a wheelchair in his underwear and engulfed in flames—rolled down the street in Red Dragon? (We were honestly surprised that nobody else thought that scene was funny.)
Have we been scarred for life?