I don’t enjoy listening to true crime podcasts like I once did.
The horrific, gory details of how X killed Y leaves me feeling dark and sad. Sure, the story lines are scintillating most of the time; they twist and turn and surprise me every listen, but they also leave me with a sickening realisation in my tummy that some people are more monster than human.
They also do this super cute thing to my anxiety… it flares up to the point I see evil in the most innocent of places and become convinced I will DEFINITELY be murdered today.
This newfound aversion to crimey stuff presents a wee conundrum: Once you take all the true crime podcasts out of Podcast Land, there are very few podcasts left (apart from Mamamia’s podcasts, which are, of course, true perfection).
I don’t give an eff about minimalism. Self help seems… too saccharine. Parenting is irrelevant because the prospect of becoming a mum right now is about as scary as crime.
That’s why I was stoked to stumble upon Gimlet Media’s Heavyweight podcast earlier this year – the perfect podcast for women who just want to feel good about the world and not hear about another senseless killing god dammit.
Listen: While we’re at it, here’s another lovely recommendation that will leave you feeling good. (Post continues…)
Hosted by Jonathan Goldstein, an author and radio producer whose voice you might recognise from This American Life, the podcast seeks to solve the problems in people’s lives, one episode at a time.
“Maybe you’ve laid awake imagining how it could have been, how it might yet be, but the moment to act was never right,” the website explains. “Well, the moment is here and the podcast making it happen is Heavyweight.”
In one episode, two elderly brothers who haven’t spoken for decades are brought back into the same room. Another sees Jonathan try to solve why a woman, now in her 30s, was harshly kicked out of her friendship group in college; another repairing the fractured relationships with a man and his three adult god children.
Heavyweight takes that buzzing, nagging curiosity - the whys in all of our lives - and produces answers. Even if some episodes aren't tied up in neat bows, each leaves you with a better understanding of conflict; how differently two people can experience the same situation, and overwhelming the power forgiveness has in fusing the broken bones of friendships back together.
It's uplifting, joyful and, above all, bloody fascinating.
And if you or a person you love needs a gentle reminder of the good stuff in life today, then I highly recommend you give it a listen.
You can find Heavyweight in your podcast app, or visit the website here.