Surfing was the first thing I fell in love with. But my second crush didn’t like me back—and that’s where Crushing was born. Crushing started as my UCLA Radio show (hence the 5-song set-list for each episode). Since I could not be at the station for live shows amidst the pandemic, I recorded via Zoom and pre-recorded the episodes. I turned each episode into a podcast (available on Spotify) which also plays during my radio show time. This collage, which I made in the winter of 2021, is what “Crushing” looks like in my head and marks the beginning of what became the Crushing Podcast and Substack.
At its simplest, Crushing explores crushes as a lens for self-discovery. Crushing is about the thing I love the most and the romantic love I can’t seem to find. But crushes come in many forms: romantic, celebrities, things we’re passionate about, just cool people in our lives. While the themes of my episodes and interviews have focused on dating, heartache, and unrequited love, Crushing is also about introspection & the self. At the same time, Crushing is sometimes silly and focuses on pop culture. Crushing pushes back against the idealization of the crush by exploring the intellectual nuance and complexity behind the gendered experience of having a crush.
Take the show graphic: the white man and woman kissing in the water represent the societal idealization of the crush; the conversations I have on the show uncover the complex reality behind the image.
Regarding guest episodes, the people I have interviewed include many different personalities: Withitgirl’s founder Mols, Laura Rubin from AllSwell Creative, TikToker Eli Rallo, and singer-songwriter Annie Trezza. In every interview, I ask: “What’s one crush that’s helped you learn about yourself?” The term “crush” is flexible. These are people with a wide range of interests, but they’re all crushing on the thing they’re passionate about or someone special in their lives, and they’re literally crushing it.
In the past two years, Crushing has grown up with me as someone who’s constantly feeling things; putting pen to paper in my journal has been a place for me to render my feelings valid. While Crushing records intimate conversations, the Crushing Substack, to which I post personal essays, is about putting my stream of consciousness onto the digital page. My newsletter/blog is a place for me to experiment with my writing, share with my friends, and be funny and sappy at the same time. My writing is supposed to open the door to insecurities and thoughts everyone is having.
So what’s in store for Crushing? Introspection, self-respect, and translucence—that’s where Crushing’s going. And this is what it looks like in my head.
This fall, in collaboration with the Withitgirl podcast talkaboutit, I will be interviewing people who are CRUSHING on something rad and CRUSHING IT at what they’re doing, starting with creative and brand strategist, filmmaker, and photographer, Beth O’Rourke, who was just in New York where her film debuted at the Women’s Surf Film Festival in Rockaway Beach, one of the beaches I grew up surfing at!
In our first interview of the series, Beth O’Rourke unveiled a pleasantly unexpected way of thinking to me, and it was a gift to have her guide me through the discovery. We discussed The Human Shore and the notion that the ocean is our new frontier. We also explored how humans are unreliable narrators and how we tell ourselves myths about the world around us and project our narratives onto others. In the social media era where everything feels fake, Beth emphasized how it’s essential to challenge yourself to find sincerity in the ways you see fit—for us, it’s going into nature. Finally, we discussed how surfing is so remarkable not because of the act itself but because of how it brings people together. Beth urges us to remember that those who have come before us have passed through similar doorways that we are passing through. She encourages us always to create our own narratives, to unleash the savage beasts within ourselves, and to do things that make us feel free.
Here is Beth's playlist selection.
Maija Fiedelholtz is a student at UCLA, majoring in history. She grew up in Brooklyn, New York. She has spent summers in Montauk, a small town on the Eastern point of Long Island, where she also learned to surf and is a surf instructor for Coreyswave. Maija completed her internship with SeaTogether Magazine (another awesome surf history source) in 2020. This summer (2022), she was the podcast intern at Betches Media. She is the host of the CRUSHING podcast, which streams on UCLA Radio, and her Bikini Blonde Series is published on the withitgirl platform.
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