Published in Manila Bulletin
– From the movie “Amores Perros”
“I went across the street to my house, to my room, to where my lifeless mommy was…” she writes on her blog journal dated August 3, 2007. “My heart stopped… I didn’t know how to contain myself... I didn’t know anything else, but the horrible pain in my chest… We’re now alone and my fears have come… I didn’t know what would become of me... And I cried and I cried...”
Two days later, Sarah left the US with her younger brother bound for her mother’s homeland. “I was on a plane for the Philippines,” she says in the same journal, “leaving everything and everyone that I ever knew and loved behind.”
Since then, Sarah’s world took a 180-degree detour on a different path that would mark the beginning of her relentless struggle as a young girl and later, as a young woman. She would also later pour out all her pains and anguish in her blog on the internet in the form of journals, drawings, poems, and photography.
In the Philippines, Sarah and her brother stayed with their aunt. However, wanting to live on her own, Sarah would rent a place and continue her studies at UST. But during those times, she underwent a terrible crisis in her life. In one of her journals, she wrote, “I've got all these shitty problems right now… I don’t want to go back to the self-destructive person that I was…”
However, Sarah was also quick to regain the balance of her spiritual self and it showed how determined she was to overcome her torments when she wrote words that revealed her aplomb, “Everything is going to be all right! Cheer up! Pray! Work! Have faith in God! Everyone has his or her own problems to deal with! You’re not alone! Many people love you! Draw! Paint!
Don’t worry about it! Smile! Breathe! Count your blessings!”
Perhaps, no one would suspect that behind Sarah’s beguiling beauty, talent and brilliance, lay something gloomy inside her delicate world. As reflected on her drawings of lone and masked girls, Sarah dons an archetypal persona to hide the looming shadows of her soul. In fact, I attributed one of my paintings to her, which I titled “Behind the Mask of Sarah.”
In the painting, I portrayed a huge mask at the center of the canvas with vibrant color, echoing one of Sarah’s journals: “Most of the time I’m sad, but you’ll only see me smile and you’ll only see me laugh. And even though I get tired, you'll never know my pain and you’ll never understand, as long as I keep you at a certain distance.”You’re not alone! Many people love you! Draw! Paint! Don’t worry about it! Smile! Breathe! Count your blessings!”