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For the first time in 10 years, Monica Lewinsky is writing about her headline-making affair with former President Bill Clinton, taking to the pages of Vanity Fair to pen her thoughts on the infamous cheating scandal.
"It's time to burn the beret and bury the blue dress," Lewinsky writes in an essay which will hit newsstands May 13. "I, myself, deeply regret what happened between me and President Clinton. Let me say it again: I. Myself. Deeply. Regret. What. Happened."
"I am determined to have a different ending to my story," she continues, adding that it's time to stop "tiptoeing around" the past. "I've decided, finally, to stick my head above the parapet so that I can take back my narrative and give a purpose to my past. (What this will cost me, I will soon find out.)"
While Lewinsky has remained virtually silent since the scandal, she says she decided to go public with her story after Tyler Clementi, the 18-year-old Rutgers freshman who was secretly filmed via webcam kissing another man, committed suicide.
"My own suffering took on a different meaning," she says of Clementi's tragedy, which, like Lewinsky's was perpetuated by the Internet. "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?"
After news of the affair broke in 1998, Lewinsky says—thanks to the Drudge Report—her "humiliation was driven by Internet" and she now has a goal of getting "involved with efforts on behalf of victims of online humiliation and harassment and to start speaking on this topic in public forums."
Despite the public embarrassment, Lewinsky maintains that the affair was between two consenting adults and insists the resulting shame she suffered was what truly damaged her personal life.
"Sure, my boss took advantage of me, but I will always remain firm on this point: it was a consensual relationship," she writes. "Any 'abuse' came in the aftermath, when I was made a scapegoat in order to protect his powerful position...The Clinton administration, the special prosecutor's minions, the political operatives on both sides of the aisle, and the media were able to brand me. And that brand stuck, in part because it was imbued with power."
Lewinsky also insists her silence her been her choice, noting that she has been "so silent, in fact that the buzz in some circles has been that the Clintons must have paid me off; why else would I have refrained from speaking out? I can assure you that nothing could be further from the truth."
And she admitted that after the scandal she turned down "offers that would have earned me more than $10 million, because they didn't feel like the right thing to do."
"I was never 'quite right' for the position," she says of job searching after the scandal. "In some cases, I was right for all the wrong reasons, as in 'Of course, your job would require you to attend our events.' And, of course, these would be events at which press would be in attendance."