Sunday, January 31, 2016

Seven Years

So meta! So weird!
Today marks seven years since I had my heart transplant. I'm grateful beyond explanation for my extra time in this world. On this day, I want to talk about some of the impacts I've had in the last seven years. First off, let's discuss the broad impact that you see depicted on the right of your screen. In 2009 I visited ArenaNet for the day. It was a magical couple of hours in which I created an event for the core game of Guild Wars 2 that you can read about here. The event involved some merchants who were walking from the city Lion's Arch to the town of  Black Haven. I named these merchants the Black Lion Trading Company. Today my mom gave me this shirt which you can easily purchase online. It's not like my mom had the shirt made because she's proud that I came up with a cool name, but the developers of the game officially licensed the shirt and sell this shirt to anyone with twenty-ish dollars. The broadest impact I have had in my life is working on Guild Wars. From naming the Black Lion Trading Company to writing the books in the Durmand Priory's Library, I've had an impact on the world of the game, the world that saved my life when I was dying and scared. The company that made me feel powerful when I was weak can now be proudly worn across my chest or your chest for the price of a dinner out. I still can't quite fathom why I was able to name the game's store, work at ArenaNet, or become a part of the lore for this game that has been played for over a billion hours, but I'm grateful I'm part of that impactful story.

There are students in this picture, but I
cropped them out because I think I'm
legally supposed to do that even though it's
just the backs of their heads. Rest assured,
though, I teach real children.
As much as I'm reflecting today on the huge, sweeping opportunities I've had in the last few years, I'm also thinking about how normal my life is right now. I'm in graduate school. I have a full time internship teaching fourth grade. I have a family, roommates, a boyfriend, and a part-time job tutoring a struggling student. It's so average and so challenging. No one who works at the school knows I had a heart transplant even though I spend at least fifty hours a week there. They notice the deep impact I'm having on these small humans, but it's because I'm working hard to instruct them on weathering and how to be a good person and not because of any advantage I've had due to almost dying. My medical history is irrelevant when I'm Ms. Singer. To the ten year olds, my most important feature is my hairy eyeball when they are calling out and has nothing to do with my knowledge of computers or the cardiopulmonary system. I talk to them all day every day about growing up and how to be good readers. We discuss the most important things in life, like how to be a friend and what it means to be fair, but these students don't have any idea about how life isn't fair for me. I am changing these kids' lives and they're changing mine, but in a hugely personal, totally normal, way.

I'm grateful for it all. I'm happy that I've been able to reach several million people in Guild Was 2 and I'm glad that I'm able to reach nineteen people in my fourth grade class. I know that if I wasn't saved by a stranger seven years ago I wouldn't have been able to do much with my life at all. Now, I'm off to celebrate my guild's tenth birthday and then write a lesson plan about quadrilaterals. What a life!


Unknown said...

Wonderful! The world is a much better place with you in it...both Earth and Tyria. <3

Angel said...

All right, Ms. Singer! Careful where you're swinging that hairy eyeball! :) So happy for you on this anniversary. Your strength and spark are a joy to behold. Those are some lucky kids.

Cynthia said...

Emily - That is awesome! So proud of you and I so enjoy being along on your journey. When you have been through the kind of things that you have been through, you can appreciate the normal, boring, usual life just that much more! Wishing you much happiness and good health always!

Ms. Prostko said...

Dear Emily, I am so proud of you! Your students are very lucky to have you in their lives. I am thrilled to hear that you are teaching and making a difference in your own way. I remember you so vividly as a wonderful student and writer in my AP Language class seven years ago. Sending best wishes for health and happiness! Ms. Prostko

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