My mother’s family is loud. Large. Ethnic. Full of smart, opinionated women. And the club house sign says “Introverts not allowed.”

I took refuge in books.

I devoured them. Any kind. All kinds. And if books were not available, any written word would do. Perfume  bottles. Cereal boxes. I read everything. But I wasn’t a writer. Writers never wrote less than perfectly or scribbled out lines. Writers also always had a clear idea on where a story would go.

Journals seemed too lovely to be desecrated by my barely legible handwriting; then, paper and typewriter ribbons were resources not to be wasted; and finally computers lacked the personal feel of a journal. There was always a reason to keep my inner voice unheard, even by me.

Some of the writer’s tools were easy to embrace  – fine pens, beautiful stationery. I read Alexandra Stoddard’s The Gift of the Letter, and I was inspired to write paper missives sent by post with tiny works of art in the corner. They were rarely answered. Everyone was “too busy” to put pen to paper. It became something I did while traveling on business, usually late at night. This was my own gift of a letter, an epistolary journal – and it helped me think.

My Blog as My Journal

While I work in the digital world, I was late discovering the joy of blogs. The first ones I found dealt with decorating; they were a bit like magazines – gorgeously art directed, smartly written, and not something I could possibly replicate. You’d need to be a professional to write a blog.

One day, my personal life philosophy (what’s the worst that could happen?) kicked in. I created a plain blog in the Blogger platform. Short electronic missives about my world. And people read it. Then my world fell apart as my marriage collapsed. I had no idea how to deal with the emotional fall-out. So I wrote. I knew people read the blog, but I never wrote for them. I wrote for me. The blog was an open letter to myself. It was how I processed. It was how I released my anger. It was how I found hope. The fact that it was online made it no less a journal.

Eventually, I closed that blog and started another as I rebuilt my (newly single) life. This time I knew the blog would be my journal. It would be where I placed my thoughts. It would be what I re-read as I grew. It would be filled with errors, it would be blunt, it would be inelegantly written – it would be mine. I never write for an audience on my blog. I write for me – the theme is done in colors I love; I add pictures and/or audio; I edit as my thoughts change; I put in musical or book references; I add links that resonate with me. The beauty of a blog is that it is never static. I can change it without destroying it or disfiguring it as a paper journal would be by the same kind of changes. It’s vital and alive. My blog is whatever I need it to be.

The bonus is that I’ve found my voice.

Sometimes it’s snarky. Sometimes it’s insightful. Sometimes it’s uplifting. And in this journal format – my family can hear me. They read my blog. They ask questions about what I’ve written. They know me in ways they never could have any other way. They now understand about my brother something I never speak of; a health condition that had been poorly accepted by my family and more.

In the end, my online journal has been the gift of a voice to my introverted self.

Bio: Alexandria Trusov. Usually a B2B marketer. Sometimes a mediocre gardener. Occasionally a writer. Always an avid reader. Alexandria invites you to visit her on her blog and Twitter.