Ta-Dah! Vision Quest!
By Heidi Musser (originally written for a Memoir/Creative Writing Workshop) Today, as every Tuesday and Thursday, I entered the Vision Quest Highland Park hallway at 6:30 am. The life-loving energy of everyone I pass so early in the morning is indescribable. It's like arriving on a different planet. What is Vision Quest (VQ)? It is where I train for endurance cycling. Indoors, when the weather is cold and unfavorable, on my single bike, locked onto a trainer, and outdoors, when the weather is warm and pleasant, on my tandem bike, with a VQ pilot for a trail ride. All I can say is Ta-dah! for VQ! Becoming involved with VQ about two years ago was life-changing for me as a blind athlete.
One of VQ's mottos is: Accomplish anything; all you need is vision. Simply feeling welcomed meant "changing my vision." No longer was I the one "without a vision," but now one who was among those who "have vision." Ta-dah! Among my fellow riders, I was no longer considered blind.
A second VQ motto is: We believe that we have the courage to overcome obstacles. Well, not a problem for me. I have overcome many obstacles because I resisted how the sighted educators and experts lined out how I should live my life. I was pretty much relegated to living my life bouncing back and forth in a rocking chair. Ta-dah! I hope educators can learn from me and implement new guidelines for blind students.
A third VQ motto is: We believe in helping others. That message has been anchored in my heart for the past 17 years, since I was first invited to help out with the teaching of a blind 8-year-old student, Akash Patel. (He is presently running for President of the Student Government Association at Oakton Community College.) I have healed my own emotional wounds, inflicted by untrained teachers, by giving of myself and teaching blind children Braille writing and reading, as well as swimming and piano playing. Ta-dah! Between Robbie Ventura, VQ's President and Founder, and me exists a very special bond. He shows his pride to have me as one of his VQ family members by talking to me and hugging me whenever he sees me. Ta-dah! For a blind individual, being hugged publicly does not happen too frequently. Recently, Robbie asked me to teach piano to his daughter. I consider this a great honor! I hope that Robbie will post this write-up on the VQ website so, in future, others who are considered "disabled" within our society will shout out the fourth VQ motto: We believe the juice is worth the squeeze! Ta-dah! Ta-dah! Ta-dah! From Robbie: Heidi, you inspire everyone you meet. Your "can do" attitude and positive energy give everyone around you a new appreciation for the term "anything is possible." Thanks for being part of the VQ family! Ta-dah, Heidi!