Which is the true self, the one a person perceives him/herself to be or the one that others perceive?
The two aren’t the same. If they were, then people in general wouldn’t be concerned about whether the world “gets” them.
When I look in the mirror, I see a different image than what others see. I physically see a flipped version, which is why I think I look weird in photos. But, though I recognize myself in the mirror or in pictures, what I feel I look like does not match the image I see in either one.
The person within comes through in a person’s writing. And if that person within doesn’t match the person that the world perceives, then is the writing a fictional representation of self? To the writer, no. To the world, yes.
The inner self, itself, is formed in part by a person’s environment. So maybe the representation of a person through his/her writing is not all that fictional from either point of view.
If you, Reader, know me only by my ink, would you recognize me in casual conversation at a random bus stop? And if you knew me in the world, could you recognize me by my ink alone?
But maybe the greater question is, given something that I don’t remember writing, could I recognize myself by my ink alone?