At the age of 22, I fell in love with my boss. At the age of 24, I learned the devastating consequences. Not a day goes by that I'm not reminded of my mistake. And I regret that mistake deeply. In 1998, after being swept up in an improbable romance, I was then swept up into the eye of a political, legal, and media maelstrom like we had never seen before. It was the first time the traditional news was usurped by the internet for a major news story. A click that reverberated around the world. What that meant for me personally was that overnight, I went from a complete private figure, to a publicly humiliated one. Worldwide.
A few months ago I listened to Monica Lewinsky share her story on the podcast To Endure, by TED Radio Hour. The whole hour is worth listening to but Ms. Lewinsky's story, starting at minute marker 30:56, is truly inspiring, and revealing, and I strongly encourage you listen to the the interview. I thought it better than the TED Talk because, like she says from the TED stage, "It was easy to forget that that woman was dimensional." And she's right. This interview provided, perhaps for the first time in my life, empathy towards her and her plight.
I was only fifteen-ish when the story broke, but my understanding of her then and up until I listened to her story was most certainly, one dimensional. Because it was easy. And because, if I'm honest, I didn't really care that much to change it. Now, I'm eager to.
Here is another dimension of Monica Lewinsky.
We need to return to being a culture of compassion. Compassion and empathy.
Since the scandal of '98, Monica Lewinsky went on to receive a Masters in Social Psychology from the London School of Economics and Political Science. In 2014, she released an essay for Vanity Fair named "Shame and Survival," which was nominated for a National Magazine Award. She's currently involved with anti-bullying projects in the U.S. and U.K. (via).
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