Interview with Janeen Singer of Holy Sponge!
Janeen Singer is the owner of Holy Sponge!, a queer business that sells sea sponges and natural cloth liners for people with periods. She believes that women and bleeding people deserve safe choices. I really wanted to include a piece about the Moon and bleeding for Many Moons Vol:2—after all, there are so many links between menstruation cycles and the Moon. (All the volumes have included more information on this in the introduction.) Having been a fan of natural options for my own period, but not a "period expert" by any stretch, I wanted to include someone who was. Janeen graciously agreed to write a piece about our bodies and the Moon for the October Waning Moon portion of the workbook.
Janeen has been preaching the gospel of sea sponges and been selling other period-positive items for the last few years as Holy Sponge! She and her team also provide resources, teach workshops, and share more information on those wanting to learn more about their periods and connect more deeply with their cycles and bodies. I asked Janeen a few questions below.
Was there an incident or catalyst that made you start Holy Sponge! ?
Janeen: Realizing how many tampons I personally was responsible for tossing in landfill trash, seeing images of the garbage vortexes in the ocean, and changing my own habits. My experience with sea sponges was so profound; I couldn’t help but share & educate folks about them.
Please share your current mission statement or statements—what is the current purpose of your life with this business project/endeavor, and beyond?
Geez…The current purpose of my life with Holy Sponge…To enjoy it! I spent a long time following a script that I didn’t write for myself. Now, I write my own script and listen to my body’s messaging. That led me to this work. Our bodies are our allies and want to help us. I tried talk-therapy in my twenties, but when I moved to more somatic (body-based) therapies, I got all the information I needed. My deepest hope is to help other people connect with and listen to their bodies. They hold the answers to our questions.
What do you wish every bleeding person knew when they started bleeding?
This is normal and human and even beautiful. Your blood is one way your body talks to you.
Can you name some resources that are helpful for bleeding people to utilize?
Firstly- there is a lack of gender-inclusive resources for folks who bleed. So unfortunately, most of the options I can offer are for people who identify as women. Queer family, let’s do something about this!
New Blood by Chris Bobel gives a great overview of the politics of menstruation. We love Inga Muscio’s Cunt. The Chalice and the Blade by Riane Eisler. Any audiobook by Clarissa Pinkola Estes (Joyous Body is great for working with body-acceptance).
In a perfect world, what would language and behaviors look like around periods/menstrual cycles/bleeding?
It would be inclusive— understanding many different kinds of people menstruate. Folks would have access to resources they need for their cycles, and saying that you’re on your period would be as normal as saying it’s Tuesday. Jobs would understand when people need to stay home if they are in too much pain to “push through” their bleeding. When a young person starts to bleed, their community would support them and offer to celebrate that passage—without pressure— if the young person wanted that.
What is your favorite Moon phase, and why?
The little sliver just after the new moon is really special…you know something is taking form. I like thinking of Artemis’s bow stretching back her arrow, aiming for her target.
Photo of Janeen by Darling Dear Photography.
What was your experience writing for the book, what do you hope that readers take away from this project, or your piece?
Writing for Many Moons was fun & reminded me of how much I like to take time to write. I had an idea of what I wanted to share with readers, and one morning, it all came pouring onto the page.
I hope readers, whether they bleed or not, can appreciate the watery connection our bodies have with the moon.
Name one thing: writer/poet/singer/park/theory/hair product etc. that you are super jazzed on at the moment.
Learn more about Holy Sponge! here.
Many Moons Workbook Vol 2: July-December starts shipping at the end of May.
Order it here.