Andrea Isabel Aguilar Ferro, Menstruating in Nepantla
Decolonizing my Autohistoria through Gloria Anzaldúa's "path of conocimiento"
Keywords:menstruation, menstrual experience, menstrual narratives, Gloria Anzaldúa, autoethnography, autohistoria
In this research paper, I pour my body, and specifically my menstrual experience, into the text. I take readers on a journey through the seven spaces of the "path of conocimiento" proposed and described by Gloria E. Anzaldúa in one of her last essays published in This Bridge We Call Home (2002), and I relate these spaces to my own experience as a menstruating woman and as a menstrual dissident. Menstruation, just as many other bodily experiences constructed as "female," is not solely a natural phenomenon; it is also sociocultural and profoundly political. The experience of menstruation is deeply personal but, at the same time, it echoes in the collective space of [please specify]. The idea that our personal experiences can relate to wider contexts is central to Anzaldúa's "autohistoria." My menstrual experience is mine, deeply personal, but I am aiming to create my menstrual autohistoria to create a bridge between my own experience and the collective space, thus striving to create knowledge and transform social realities. "Nepantla" is the word Anzaldúa chose to designate the place where "different worlds coalesce." It can also be the place where different narratives clash. What does it mean to menstruate in nepantla? It can be compared to menstruating consciously, aware of the codes that mediate our experiences and narratives. It can also mean to be in contradiction to be knowing things and to being aware of them but at the same time to be experiencing others that differ, and that, in binary thinking, cannot coexist. Menstruating in nepantla also opens the door for healing and for the possibility for transformation.