Dariann is a student at Indiana Wesleyan University majoring in Human Services. She's married, has two kids, and two cats.
Resume and Eulogy Virtues (Adam I and Adam II)
Recently, in my college course at Indiana Wesleyan University, Foundation of Lifelong Learning (GEN-111), we were assigned to write a discussion post describing how we would continually enhance and refine our eulogy virtues as we focused on our resume virtues. We were to integrate faith, personal experiences, and the course content that was provided. One of the videos provided in the course content was a video by David Brooks, “Should you live for your resume…or your eulogy?” (TED, 2014).
In this video, Brooks discusses what resume and eulogy virtues are, their differences, and discussed a book by Joseph Soloveitchik, a rabbi, who wrote a book called “The Lonely Man Of Faith” in 1965 (TED, 2014). In summary, both discussed the same idea; that there is a side of us that is deeper, Adam II, that shows our love, our compassion; essentially, all the things that would be written about us in our eulogy. Hence, our eulogy virtues. And there is a side of us that is shallower, Adam I, that focuses on our worldly possessions, experiences, and successes. Hence, our resume virtues.
The idea of Adam I and Adam II instantly struck a nerve with me. Just as Adam I and Adam II can coexist, so can resume virtues and eulogy virtues. Going to college, you are not only expanding your resume virtues. You are expanding your mind, your understanding, your connections with other people. And in doing so, your eulogy virtues. If you do it right, you can achieve both. But I think where we run into trouble is when we completely shut out Adam II and solely focus on Adam I. Therefore, we are only focusing on our resume virtues and leaving our eulogy virtues behind.
There are times in life when you hear or read something, and it sparks something in you. It does not happen often, but it feels wrong not to write about it when it does. I have been searching for the right time to share something with you all. By no means do I have to, but I am only cutting myself short by refusing to. I am not ashamed of who I have become in the past seven months. I am also not ashamed of the decisions I have made since then to better our family—our lives.
Seven months ago, I was losing it. For three years, I had been holed up in the house, hardly going outside. I found out I was pregnant the day after my husband and I got married, and it was the hardest 9 months of my life. I was hospitalized multiple times for low blood pressure, tachycardia, a subchorionic hemorrhage. I thought for sure I would lose the baby, but I did not.
After months of bed rest, I was induced and had a vaginal birth to a beautiful baby boy; Jovin. We brought him home and Devin, my husband, had to leave shortly after to complete climbing school for his lineman apprenticeship. I had noticed a few odd things happening while he was home, but I brushed them off and did not think much else of them. Once he was gone, though, disaster hit. I could not eat. My whole body broke out in hives, and every joint in my body swelled. I could hardly stand, let alone pick up my newborn baby. Every time I tried, I felt as though my wrists would splinter and break. I did not have the strength to hold him.
I relied heavily on Devin’s mother, who lived right next to us. She tried her best to help me. I remember one night I was hurting so badly, cradling my wrists to my chest, I could barely lift my phone or type to ask for help. She tried everything she could think of—heat, ice; nothing worked. It only made the pain grow stronger. I had to buy a cane to get around the house. Devin’s family had to help me wash bottles because I could not get them open. And on the good nights that I was able to care for Jovin, I was practically immobilized throughout the day. I called a doctor, and immediately she wanted to do a full blood panel on me. I had no idea how I would manage getting there alone, but I knew I had to.
Somehow, through the tears, the pain, I managed to drive myself to my appointment. After several more of these, accompanied by a rheumatologist appointment, I discovered that I had rheumatoid arthritis. A chronic, incurable autoimmune disease characterized by random or triggered flare-ups consisting of joint swelling, fatigue, fever, loss of appetite, lumps or redness on the skin, and varying chronic pain levels. I was prescribed anti-inflammatories, pain medications, and at one point, I was taking 13 pills a day. Eventually, I decided enough was enough. I did not want to live my life swallowing pills that hardly even worked anyway. And I turned to a bit of a more holistic approach.
I started smoking weed. At that point, I did not care if it was illegal. All I wanted was for the pain to stop. And after just two hits on my worst nights, I went from being completely immobilized and sobbing in pain to being able to walk, to being able to talk without gasping through tears. I never took another pill. Miraculously, one day, I woke up, and the pain began to taper. After months of excruciating pain, it was finally beginning to ease. Not all at once, but day by day, I hurt less and less. The flare-up was ending. Physically, I was healing. But I am afraid the damage had already been done mentally.
Though Devin’s family helped me when they could, there were many those who did not. I felt alone in my marriage and alone as a daughter. I had suffered immeasurably, and it felt as though what I’d gone through was just a minor inconvenience for those around me. I entered a deep depression, and so came Adam I. As David Brooks explained,
We happen to live in a society that favors Adam I and often neglects Adam II. And the problem is, that turns you into a shrewd animal who treats life as a game, and you become a cold, calculating creature who slips into a sort of mediocrity where you realize there’s a difference between your desired self and your actual self. (TED, 2014)
And he was not wrong.
I became cold, lifeless, and I was almost blind to it. I did what I had to do; I made sure Jovin’s needs were met, I cleaned the house, I took him to his appointments, but there was no love. No feeling. No compassion. When I held him close, I felt nothing. When my husband wanted affections, I felt nothing. When someone wanted something from me, I lashed out. I became Adam I, with Adam II nowhere in sight.
A couple of years went by, and I became pregnant with our second baby, Everleigh. For the first time in a long time, I began to sense joy, but I could not fully feel it. The pregnancy went fast with the monotony of everyday life, and before I knew it, she was here. I knew I loved her, but I could not feel that I loved her for some reason. I began to battle with myself. There was a war going on in my soul, and I was losing it. Every day I felt myself grow smaller—that tiny voice struggling harder and harder to breathe as the shrewd darkness overcame it. Until finally, I snapped.
One morning, I woke up as usual with Everleigh, finally got her down, and went to see if Jovin was awake as well. He had taken off his diaper and smeared feces all over the crib, thrown it out on the floor, peed freely in and around his crib. In a flash of anger, I slapped him. Immediately, regret slammed into my chest. Adam II, in a desperate attempt, finally reached the surface. I called my mom, sobbing, realizing I had been but a shadow of myself for years now, and the deepest sadness I have ever felt flooded my entire being.
That day, I got help. I went to Cornerstone, or Blackford Mental Health as it is now known, and stated what had happened. I told them that I needed help immediately, and I sent the kids with my mom while I worked on repairing the damage done to myself after years of struggle. Cornerstone contacted DCS, DCS contacted me, and I made a police report of what had happened that night. That was seven months ago.
Since then, I have had countless therapy sessions, skills therapy; I’ve worked with DCS completely; anything they wanted from me. And I currently face two possible felony convictions in an ongoing criminal case that could end as soon as tomorrow with a plea agreement or as late as April of next year with a jury trial. My husband has been my rock through all of this. And the ongoing support of my mother, with whom we have decided to place custody of the kids, has been extraordinary. We are still able to be in their lives, and I am finally, 100%, completely in touch with Adam II; and I want to continue to stay there.
I joined college courses at Indiana Wesleyan University to become a better version of myself. In doing so, I believe I am already focusing on my eulogy virtues as well as my resume virtues. As far as faith goes, I am still working on that. But above all else, I finally have faith in myself.
I know I am not perfect; I know that I have made mistakes, but David Brooks could not have said it better;
You go into yourself, you find the sin which you’ve committed over and again through your life, your signature sin out of which the others emerge, and you fight that sin, and you wrestle with that sin, and out of that wrestling, that suffering, then a depth of character is constructed. (TED, 2014)
TED. (2014, April 14). Should you live for your résumé ... or your eulogy? | David Brooks [Video]. YouTube.
© 2020 Dariann Gretz