Monica Lewinsky was known as the other woman for a long time and it took her almost 20 years to start talking about what happened back then.
Everyone makes mistakes but for some people, they prove to be very expensive. They are shamed and ostracized for life and that leaves traumatic scars on them. It might be something so big and unexpected that they could be left with its after-effects for decades.
Monika Lewinsky, 47, was only 22 when she went to intern for the White House. Unfortunately, the narrative slipped out of her hands soon. The unpaid intern from California just wanted some work experience but instead, she fell in love with her married boss - who just happened to be the President of the United States. She has been paying for it ever since. In 2015, she opened up about the affair that almost cost Bill Clinton his office.
She spoke about her global humiliation at a summit organized by the business magazine Forbes in 2014, according to National Post. “I fell in love with my boss. Only, my boss was the President of the United States.” She said that she is talking about it now since she wanted to "give purpose to" her past by campaigning against a toxic online culture. She said she was "the first person to have their reputation completely destroyed worldwide via the Internet."
In 1998, the shocking revelation almost ruined her life and she wishes now that she didn't make that mistake back when she was 22. "I, myself, deeply regret what happened between me and President Clinton. Let me say it again: I. Myself. Deeply. Regret. What. Happened," she told Vanity Fair. There was so much media scrutiny that she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The prosecutor Ken Starr had investigated their relationship and every little lurid detail was splashed on the internet back in 1998.
After years of working on herself, the former White House aide wrote in Vanity Fair, "If I have learned anything since then, it is that you cannot run away from who you are or from how you’ve been shaped by your experiences. Instead, you must integrate your past and present."
She has also gained a sense of humor about what she went through all those years ago. "To be blunt, I was diagnosed several years ago with post-traumatic stress disorder, mainly from the ordeal of having been publicly outed and ostracized back then. My trauma expedition has been long, arduous, painful, and expensive. And it’s not over. (I like to joke that my tombstone will read, MUTATIS MUTANDIS—'With Changes Being Made.')" she wrote in the magazine.
According to CNN, apart from her photos being splashed across the newspapers, she also had to testify before a grand jury in Clinton's impeachment trial about their affair. The former president had lied about it. Clinton was 49 at the time and Lewinsky was 22. The power dynamics seem tipped towards the politician by a lot.
The woman is now leading an anti-cyberbullying campaign and is leveraging her past notoriety to get the point across. Recently, she made a joke about internships and won over the internet with it. When one user tweeted, "I have a Charles Manson joke and it kills", Lewinsky offered her own take, "I have an intern joke and it … nevermind."
i have an intern joke and it... nevermind. https://t.co/SCHRGYVIJV— Monica Lewinsky (@MonicaLewinsky) July 24, 2020
"Monica wins the internet," tweeted Mia Farrow after her Tweet was reshared more than 350,000 times. One of the things she's done after coming back into public life is to express regret and own her story. She is telling it on her own terms instead of it being twisted by those who didn't have her interest.
"We often pay attention when we see physical pain, right?" Lewinsky was quoted as saying by Fast Company. "It might be crutches or a cast, but we don’t see it in the same way as emotional pain, and it’s not as immediately obvious," she said. She felt a "tsunami of anxiety and shame and fear—and public humiliation."
who knew hoops could help?! #WearADamnMask pic.twitter.com/gECIqtpKnw— Monica Lewinsky (@MonicaLewinsky) August 8, 2020
She said that while she was ridiculed on numerous occasions that also made her want to end her life, the other half of that relationship went unscathed. "I felt like every layer of my skin and my identity were ripped off of me in 1998 and 1999," she told the Guardian in 2016. "It’s a skinning of sorts … the shame sticks to you like tar," she said, adding that Clinton's influence had saved him back then. However, she is now telling her story and ready to forgive herself whether others do so or not. Her authorized biography, Monica's Story, by Andrew Morton, was released in 1999.