Those who puts themselves “out there” in a public sphere must share at least one concern — identity.
In other words, Who You Are and What You Represent. In a less existential way, we may also share the more practical concern of “what if someone out there knows me?” To those who do make-up tutorials on YouTube to best-selling authors to op-ed writers for print and online publications, I have to ask — do you ever feel wary to put out your name and face and voice, to provide your identity for all to explore and prod?
I find it strange that, as a fiction writer, I am thrilled at the concept of providing all I can about myself. My name? Why, of course! My face and affiliations? Here, take a look! In this work, I identify as my main character; she is the fence by which I hide my real feelings and ideas. Oh, you don’t like her? Don’t worry, she’s nothing like me.
As an opinion writer, I am concerned. As an opinion writer, you cannot dilute with satire without sounding arrogent. As an opinion writer, you cannot hide behind a collage of mannerisms and personalities you’ve met throughout your life. You are speaking your truth though your opinion has not been asked. You are saying things that some may not like, or even tolerate. Though some, somewhere, may.
But what really is identity? Is my name and opinion all I have to offer? Am I, literally, the stories I write? If we identify as something, is it only through that lens by which we can understand the world and our role in it?
I guess this all comes down to this: Do I know what I know to be true. Do I belive what I belive to be believable. Would I be ashamed if someone recognized me — if someone put a face to a name. Is my identity so ingrained in my published or internet presence that I cannot have one without the other?