Monica Lewinsky took time to reflect on how much things have changed (and in some cases not) since she became a public figure following her affair with then-President Bill Clinton in 1998. Lewinsky, 49, shared a list of 25 observations and things she now understands since the scandal in an essay for Vanity Fair on Friday, January 20. While it’s been 25 years since the news of the affair broke on January 21, 1998, Lewinsky has shown that she’s incredibly resilient.
Many of Lewinsky’s observations showed just how much she’s changed in the years since she was a 21-year-old White House intern, and she shared how much personal growth she’s undergone in 25 years. The first thing that she said she learned was an important personal lesson. “You can make the right decision and still have regret,” she wrote.
The writer and producer also included thoughts about parents being smarter than they seem, how essential “finding joy” is, the difficulty of grief, and having better “taste in partners.” She also spoke about how important it is to be okay with messing up every now and then. “One thing everyone has in common is that we have all made mistakes. It’s inevitable. Get comfortable with the Art of the Mistake,” she wrote.
Some of the things that Lewinsky shared included her personal experiences both from her life and the public reaction to the scandal with Clinton. She spoke about how the name of the affair has now shifted to being called “The Clinton Scandal” and “The Clinton Impeachment” rather than her name being the focus.
The activist also spoke about her former friend Linda Tripp, who she referred to as “one of the world’s worst friends.” Lewinsky said that she’s been more careful about choosing friends and said she no longer feels “resentment and bitterness” toward Tripp. She did say that she has new friends whom she trusts. “My most emotionally intimate relationships are with my incredible friends,” she wrote.
Most of all, Lewinsky showed how strong she is, over two decades after the affair, and she showed a sense of self-acceptance. “You cannot run away from your narrative,” she wrote. “You can only try to integrate your previous selves with as much compassion as you can muster.” She concluded with a final message about being able to get through anything. “You can survive the unimaginable,” she wrote.
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