…it is surprising how much of what you imagine to be your innate sense of self actually comes from things that aren’t one’s self at all:
people’s reactions to the blouse you wear, the respectfulness of your family, the attentiveness of friends, ther approval of the pictures in your living room, the neatness of your lawn, the way people whisper your name. It is these exhibitions of yourself, as reflected in the people whom you meet, which give you comfort and your identity. Take them away, be put in a tiny room and called by a number, and you begin to vanish.
It is almost the subject of a million magazine headlines-except that the magazines read ‘What your clothes say about you’; in prison, you realise they should read ‘What is left of you once your clothes have had their say?’
Stuart, a life backwards, p.101 Alexander Masters