Defense and Coping Mechanisms in Both Life and Literature.

In the book I’m currently reading, The Revolution of Marina M., the author Janet Fitch implements something I’ve never experienced in a book before.

She switches the point of view from first person, to third person, then back to first person.

The third person POV is only for a couple of chapters, and at first, I found this highly annoying.

Okay…..I was straight up pissed. Ha!

I had just spent a good five hundred pages getting used to Marina telling me her story. I had imagined we were sitting together having tea as she told me of of lust, poetry, deviance and revolution. Then naturally progress into having multiple glasses of vodka as she had me on the edge of my seat with every word….

Then what’s this?!?! Someone else takes over her story?! Nah man…..nah..

However, after just a few pages, I began to appreciate and see the beauty of this change.

More importantly, its significance.

Right before the change in point of view, Marina experiences extreme terror, pain, betrayal ,abuse and loss.

The next chapter after this horrific scene she seeks refuge at a beautiful observatory.

The story is then taken over by Marusya.

The mute and completely dilapidated shell of herself.

She is no longer Marina.

Why would she be Marina?

How could she keep being her?

No….its best to be Marusya…..

Marusya hasn’t been abandoned or abducted, raped or accused.

Marusya was the girl who spoke no words.

Didnt have to speak.

No one knew her here.

She lived a peaceful life.

Helped around the observatory and kept her hands honest in labor.

She holds onto this alter ego, no, more than an alter ego. Her mind holds onto this completely separate existence of herself for as long as it physically can. Until our poor heroine is ripped back into cold reality, away from the stary skies of the observatory.

This extreme display of how her mind had to cope with her pain and defend her last strain of sanity was….well…

Powerful.

And greatly appreciated.

Now, I have never been through anything remotely close to what our brave Russian protagonist has.

Thank God!

*No spoilers as to what happens to her. You have to read it! 😜

No no…by comparison…my life would look like rainbows and lollipops.

However, this intriguing display of escapism and borderline psychosis made me reflect on how my own mind has coped with pain.

Isn’t it funny how coping and defense mechanisms can make things better and worse at the same time. You are protecting your mind the only way you know how, yet, its only because you don’t know how or cant get out of your current situation.

I knew I didn’t want to be where I was.

Didnt want to do what I was doing.

But, I didnt know how to get out.

So I just lied to myself.

Told myself I enjoyed everything.

Told myself I was a different Haley.

I had created another version of myself to cope with my reality.

I couldn’t keep up with how fast things where spinning out of control, and quite honestly, I was too weak and tired to get myself out.

I knew the truth deep down, but lying was easier.

This was just my experience.

I guess I wanted to write about this because I find coping mechanisms and defense mechanisms to be extremely complex.

How do you feel about them?

How did they effect your life?

Are they your bitter tasting memory, or a saving grace?

I’m still confused about how I feel about my sinful alter ego, and how I dealt with her.

I guess in conclusion- it’s all grey.

Fitting really.

I dont believe in a black and white world anyways.

Thank you for reading. ❤