Here's the pitch
I'm thinking a variety show segment called Someone I was Mean To. (NOT Someone Who Was Mean To ME, right? Got it?) I'm thinking a one minute video (or more, if you'd like) of a solo person talking to the camera. A phone camera or computer camera would be fine. (Read: quarantine-friendly!) The solo person is talking to/ addressing someone they've been mean to and fessing up. Maybe it's an apology, maybe it's just an acknowledgement, but either way it's golden vulnerability. You get me? The aggrieved party doesn't even have to BE there. All we'd need is a phone and a willingness to be vulnerable!
OR... We could step it up a notch! We could reach out to the person we were mean to, get their permission, and record the conversation between us! I bet there wouldn't be a dry eye in the house! Of course, the value of our vulnerability isn't dependent on the other party's response. They don't have to forgive us in order for the exercise to "work."
I know this could be amazing because I couldn't get through saying the title of the segment without breaking down in tears.
I sure know who I was mean to, and his name was Josh. It was at Lakewood Elementary School in California's Central Valley in the late 80s, and Josh had the audacity to be poor. I was remembering the ways in which we as a group (which includes me as an individual, follower though I was) were astonishingly cruel. I don't feel good about that at all when I think of it.. so instead of trying to suppress that icky feeling and looking away from it, what if i looked it straight in the eye and said, "I'm really sorry."
Not everything I said to Josh was cruel. I remember making some boundaries with him later at sixth grade camp, where the camp rule was that you HAD to dance with the square dancing partner you got matched with. I got matched with Josh, and there was nothing that was going to make me feel okay about his hands touching my body, so I wouldn't do it. I wouldn't dance with him. The administration brought me to a back office and explained to me that I was on "step 1" of disciplinary action and that I was being exceptionally hurtful and disrespectful etc etc etc. But EYE (emphasis mine) remembered my dad telling me in no uncertain terms that my body was all mine and if anyone ever, ever EVER wanted to do something to my body that I didn't want them to do, I had the absolute, fundamental, indisputable right to say NO.
That's all to say, I won't be apologizing for making boundaries. But I will be apologizing for the general meanness with which we all treated him. If (when!) I DO film it, I'll totally post it on my Youtube page, I promise. You should join me!
Because can you imagine, dear one, how amazing it would be if some of my friends also recorded a short, fully vulnerable confessional (of sorts)? And can you imagine how amazing it would be if our neighbors also were willing to admit that they'd been mean to someone once, and that they were sorry about it? I mean... what if our whole town did it? What about the whole world?
Food for thought.