After 10 years Monica Lewinsky is breaking her silence and speaking out. Vanity Fair released some of the highlights Tuesday, but in the full revealing essay she details a painful 16 years since the world learned of her affair with the president and how she will stay silent no more.
Here are five more revelations from Monica Lewinsky:
1. An “Authentic Connection” with the President
After Lewinsky writes of the affair with Bill Clinton she “Deeply. Regret. What. Happened.” she adds that she believed her relationship with the president was an “authentic connection, with emotional intimacy, frequent visits, plans made, phone calls and gifts exchanged.”
“In my early 20s, I was too young to understand the real-life consequences, and too young to see that I would be sacrificed for political expediency. I look back now, shake my head in disbelief , and wonder: what was I—what were we—thinking? I would give anything to go back and rewind the tape,” Lewinsky writes.
2. She Will Be Silent No Longer
Lewinsky writes after all these years she is finally moving on: ”Unlike the other parties involved, I was so young that I had no established identity to which I could return. I didn’t ‘let this define’ me—I simply hadn’t had the life experience to establish my own identity in 1998…Despite much self-searching and therapy and exploring of different paths, I remained ‘stuck’ for far too many years. No longer. It’s time to burn the beret and bury the blue dress. And move forward.”
She also notes how the rise of cyber bullying and the tragic suicide of 18-year-old Tyler Clementi, the gay Rutgers student who was filmed kissing another man, brought back similar terrible memories and inspired her to speak out for the first time in a decade, but she knows it may mean disturbing the “Clinton universe.”
“Perhaps by sharing my story, I reasoned, I might be able to help others in their darkest moments of humiliation. The question became: How do I find and give a purpose to my past? It was my Prufrockian moment: ‘Do I dare/Disturb the universe?’ Or, in my case, the Clinton universe,” she writes in the magazine.
Lewinsky said she remained “virtually reclusive” in 2008 when Hillary Clinton was running for president, but not this time writing, ”I’ve begun to find it debilitating to plot out the cycle of my life based, to some degree, on the political calendar. For me, it’s a scenario in which the personal and the political are impossible to separate….But should I put my life on hold for another 8 to 10 years?”
She calls herself a ”conscientious Democrat” and was cautious in speaking out because she is ”aware that I could be used as a tool of the left or the right.”
Lewinsky says speaking out now is “not about Me versus the Clintons. Their lives have moved on; they occupy important and powerful place on the global stage. I wish them no ill. And I fully understand that was has happened to me and the issue of my future do not matter to either of them.”
3. The Job Search
Lewinsky details her difficulties in finding employment in the years since the since the scandal and at one she describes as “before the 2008 primary season” at an “organization that relies on grants and other government funding” the interviewer said her employment would be “risky.”
“We would first need a Letter of Indemnification from the Clintons. After all, there is a 25 percent chance that Mrs. Clinton will be the next president.” I gave a fake smile and said, ” I understand,” she writes.
4. She Does Date
Lewinsky mentions her dating life noting “yes I date!,” but says she is very careful before going public with someone, detailing how she lives in fear of the “gossip rags” and tells a sad tale of life after scandal in the public eye.
“I go through some degree of 1998 whiplash I need to be extremely circumspect about what it means to be ‘public’ with someone,” she writes. “I’ve become adept at figuring out when men are interested in me for the wrong reason. Thankfully, those have been few and far between. But every man that has been special to me over the past 16 years has helped me find another piece of myself—the self that was shattered in 1998. And so, no matter the heartbreak, tears, or disenchantment, I’ll always be grateful to them. “
5. Her Thoughts on Feminism
Lewinsky writes how she felt abandoned by the feminist movement during the scandal saying, “Given my experience of being passed around like gender-politics cocktail food, I don’t identity myself as a Feminist, capital F. The movement’s leaders failed in articulating a position that was not essentially anti-woman during the witch hunt of 1998.”
She also believes that in sex scandals it is women who “take the fall,” noting that the ”Anthony Weiners and Eliot Spitzers…They bow out of public life for a while, but they inevitably return, having put it all behind them.The women in these imbroglios return to lives that are not so easily repaired.”
Earlier in this section she writes, “And all too familiar: with every marital indiscretion that finds its way in the public sphere many of which involve male politicians–it always seems like the woman conveniently takes the fall. ”