New Minnesota Women's Press editor and owner Mikki Morrissette
New Minnesota Women's Press editor and owner Mikki Morrissette

When I was young, I created secret messages with lemon juice. I had a locked diary for my vital thoughts and a private notebook for my sappy poetry. I carved out a secret wall space where I stored important mementos of my 14-year-old life. I often read books while tucked away in my closet.

I liked the idea that there were places where no one could see me. Thanks to a teenage boy babysitter, by the age of seven I had experienced moments that made me wish I could be invisible.

I also had a fantasy that my older brother – who in actuality died before I was born – was instead a soldier in the Vietnam War and was partly on this earth to protect me from the harmful secrets that I imagined only he would understand. Apparently my desire to be hidden was balanced by a desire to tell my story.

Today, my interest is strong in sharing stories that remind us of how valuable it is to be Visible, to be Seen, to be Understood. Sometimes it is in the least visible of spaces that there is a cauldron of emotions and turmoil that struggles to be articulated.

There is so much incessant chatter around us. How do we hear what is meaningful, and see what deserves our attention?

That is partly what this issue of Minnesota Women's Press is about.

Gerrymandering
This issue is also about how we make personal maps that reveal what and who we think are important — our individual topography of values, in a way.
 
In a strictly political sense, we know partisan gerrymandering as a snaking set of borders that tends to collect voters strategically into districts in order to benefit one party. In North Carolina in 2016, for example, 10 of 13 Congressional seats went to a party that won only half the popular votes in the state. In January, two federal judges ruled the current gerrymandering map in that state unconstitutional. Soon the Supreme Court will take up the issue of whether maps are being rigged to render some votes useless.

In a more personal sense, we might be more cognizant these days of how we all individually create our own borders. What do we pay attention to? What values tend to create the boundaries in our lives? Does that mean we ignore other viewpoints? Is that sustainable? Can we build healthy communities if only some people count?

After you read this issue, please share with me what blind spots are in your mirror that you hope to adjust this year. I welcome your thoughts at editor@womenspress.com.

It is in connection and collaboration that we become what we are: Powerful.  Everyday. Women.