In a New Yorker cartoon, a kid is listening to a busker playing the saxophone. His mother drags him away, saying, ‘Come on honey, that’s not real music – he’s just making it up!’
Likewise, we may feel uncomfortable with the thought of ‘making ourselves up’ as we go along, rather than following some grander script of destiny. But probably most of us in the modern West feel that we’re indeed improvising our identity in relation to who we need to be with others, or for others, or for a context. We’re all busy working on what the philosopher Mel Thompson (2009) calls ‘Project Me’.