To Be a VoF: My First Thoughts

Stella Paul
Posted November 1, 2011 from India

I was waiting, like everyone else, for this day when the names of 30 women would be announced. The announcement (finally!) has happened and I am one of the 30. But instead of jumping into joy and celebrating, I am sitting here on my computer, writing this note. There are feelings - quite mixed - welling up within me and I have to pour them out.

I begin by saying the obvious - Congrats to WP team for taking this great event to its third successful year, to draw attention and raise hopes of thousands of women around the world to find a common place where they can be one voice and one soul. I also say 'Congrats' to the fellow VoF'11 - everyone in there. I share your joy and your dreams and stand by you in supporting every cause you are to bring up here.

But I said that I have mixed feelings. And so, here comes the truth: I am sad and also kind of afraid, because there's a thought in my head: what if I lose all those friends who are not in the final 30, but are women who were already winners for me?

How many names can I take? Choirgirl (Maria), Carlotta, Olanike, Rukamanqui, Yao, Osai, Udoka, Wendy, soulhavenlisa, Sibo, Teresa....If I wrote my assignments well, that's because you filled me with joy and inspiration. Will you still be just as active, bringing up stories that will be just as soul stirring? reaching out with words of love and encouragement?

Or will you go quiet? withdraw? Its this thought that pains me.

From the bottom of my heart, I hope things will remain just as alive, as vibrant with you all adding colors of ideas and strengths like you did earlier. Knowing you all has strengthened my own urge to broaden my boundaries; I take pride in the thought that I talk and listen to women in over a hundred countries now and I wouldn't let go of that! Not when I have just started to know you.

To go back to my vision of the future, I, a honeybee, need all my beeeeeeeeautiful sisters to stay by me, as I move forward making the beehive world. I hope, this will happen. Until then, here is all my love for all of you!

Comments 40

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udoka29
Nov 01, 2011
Nov 01, 2011

I'm so glad that I was the 1st to do that. I'm very happy for your achievement, besides it was a no brainer. If your name hadn't been listed then there must have been something wrong somewhere somehow.

I know you'll make excellent use of this opportunity and get your voice and that of other women heard. You have a profiundly beautiful style and fluidity to your writing, and articulate your vision well.

Well done and congrats once again.

Stella Paul
Nov 01, 2011
Nov 01, 2011

Those are beautiful words Udoka and I am thankful to you. I hope to stay in touch with you, always

udoka29
Nov 01, 2011
Nov 01, 2011

I think that's a definite yes. I'm not going anywhere.

Goodluck with your training. When do you start?

Udoka Chiefe

Olanike
Nov 01, 2011
Nov 01, 2011

I must confess that I am thrilled! The issue of the mixed feelings is only natural, and I have no doubt that all your lovely friends understand. Your stories cannot be ignored Stella, and I am sure your teeming fans will stand by you every step of the way. Beyond World Pulse, I have found a friend in you and be rest assured that you can always count on my support. Go, go, go and make the beehive world!

Loads of love and hugs!

OLANIKE

Stella Paul
Nov 01, 2011
Nov 01, 2011

Dear Olanike Your friendship means too much to me to lose you. I have so much to share and talk. The other day, I wrote this blog http://whisperinggreens.blogspot.com/2011/10/miracle-tree-what-indian-wo... and its because of you. This is how this forum works - women inspiring, giving strength to each other. I will always honor that and stay close to you.

Love

Olanike
Nov 02, 2011
Nov 02, 2011

You are assured of my unflinching friendship Stella. I read your blog about the Miracle Plant, and the information is rich. To say the least, I was taken aback by your mention of my name. You are such a loyal sister and friend. Thank you for honouring me in ways unimagined. There is so much to keep sharing and building on and I look forward to every moment of sharing with and learning from you. You are truly a role model!

Hugs,

Olanike Olugboji

Stella Paul
Nov 02, 2011
Nov 02, 2011

Dear Olanike

It would have been a horrible thing not to mention you - the one who gave me the idea. I am proud of your friendship and wouldn't leave a chance to make it stronger :) I saw you left a comment on the blog also. I am deeply touched.

Together we can find many solutions and contribute a lot to the global society. And we will keep doing it.

Love

Deepika Nayyar
Nov 01, 2011
Nov 01, 2011

Its such thrilling piece of news.

Much love....

Looking forward already :)

deepika

Stella Paul
Nov 01, 2011
Nov 01, 2011

Thanks a lot and is been so exciting to know about your project and I will absolutely wait to hear more of your experience. Hope to get to know you too well, because after all, the forum is the same one and just as embracing as before.

Much love to you too

Leslie Stoupas
Nov 01, 2011
Nov 01, 2011

Your honesty here is so heartfelt. Certainly, it can be a little intimidating to start a new venture without all the friends you have just made, but don't be surprised if you discover that you have in fact inspired many more women along the way. All our hearts connect together for a vision and purpose that is bigger than us all!

Stella Paul
Nov 01, 2011
Nov 01, 2011

Thank you Leslie, both for being my friend and for this beautiful message. You just added a handful of n extra excitement to this journey for me :) Love

Jade Frank
Nov 01, 2011
Nov 01, 2011

Hi Stella,

Know that the PulseWire community remains a nurturing, safe and supportive space for all women to lift our voices work together to bring change to our local communities, online spaces, and the world. VOF takes places here on PulseWire, and the community does not go away. The World Pulse team is frantically working to build our Community Leadership Model, which has roles for all leaders who emerge through this online community - whether through the VOF program, or outside the 30 correspondents each year - for women to take leadership and help us grow together meet our individual visions, as well as our combined vision.

So be happy, and enjoy this moment you worked so hard to achieve. And know that everyone who applied for VOF has a valued role here in the community regardless.

Congratulations to you, the other 30 correspondents for 2011, all applicants who courageously shared their stories, experiences, and visions, and every woman here who makes up the World Pulse family!

xoxo Jade

Stella Paul
Nov 02, 2011
Nov 02, 2011

Thank you Jade.That's such a lovely message. This indeed is a wonderful family for anyone to be part of!

Much love!

Nusrat Ara
Nov 02, 2011
Nov 02, 2011

That is a touching thought Stella and a wonderful tribute to everyone at WP.

You couldn't put it better honey bee :)))

Love

Stella Paul
Nov 02, 2011
Nov 02, 2011

Dear Nusrat

I have come to love a lot of women here in such a short time span and they are all special. Btw, as a former VoF, you have also been wonderful, always so full of encouragement and I take this opportunity to say a special 'thank you' to you too!

Celine
Nov 02, 2011
Nov 02, 2011

Dear Stella,

Your thoughts are natural and your feeling real. 30 are selected this year and yet another 30 or more (who knows?) will be selected next year. Just like you do, I cherish and value every member on Pulse Wire - whether VOF correspondence or not yet a VOF. I stay connected to the friends I meet here and I tell you I have gained so much from everyone even before my application and selection this year. The most joy of it is the online and offline connections which transcends boundaries. The sharing of experiences are all filled with learning, I get challenged every day by the wealth of experience exhibited by every one including you the 'honeybee'. I learn a lot from every story from every pulse wire member!

Once again, I say thank you for the contributions in the exercise so far.

I love WP!

Celine

Stella Paul
Nov 02, 2011
Nov 02, 2011

I love WP, you, Celine and everyone of the women here. We will stay huddled together, tomorrow and beyond!

Usha K.C.
Nov 02, 2011
Nov 02, 2011

loved your feelings dearieeeeeeeeeeee! you are true friend indeed for all of us. proud to have you in my life.

love and hug

Sarvina Kang
Nov 02, 2011
Nov 02, 2011

Hi Stella,

Reading your post, I do remember when I was selected as one of 30 women last year - people around me said I was crazy because I was smiling, dancing and speaking alone but I also thought to others who were not listed and I kept encouraging them to be here.

Congratulations to you!

Love,

Sarvina

Stella Paul
Nov 02, 2011
Nov 02, 2011

Yes Sarvina

I think staying connected to all is important and I will want to do that. Everyone has a good chance to win this one next year and also a good chance of getting noticed through their personal journal posts. So yes, I will keep encouraging all to do that.

Love to you too

jmadhur
Nov 02, 2011
Nov 02, 2011

Very happy to see you in the top 30. I always knew you would make it and I congratulate you on this.Keep up the good work!

Ruth Beedle
Nov 03, 2011
Nov 03, 2011

If last year was any indication of what while transpire this, then the women you have grown to know and love over these past many weeks will continue to be there reading and cheering you on and being inspired by you. You are not only the Voice of YOUR Future; you are the voice of theirs and for all of us!

Yes, this is a huge acknowledgment of the assignments you completed and it will be a lot of work in the coming weeks and months. And I promise you that the women who are in your heart's corner will not grow fewer. There will be so many more crowding in there behind you that you may need to find a larger space to hold them all.

And, after all....... what are hearts for but to grow and grow and include more and more of the people we love.

Stella Paul
Nov 08, 2011
Nov 08, 2011

Dear Ruth

Replying late isn't my usual style, but this time I am happy to be reading and replying to this comment late. Because, it gave the time to read Achieng Nas' story (Why I say Educate One Girl) and learn of the way you reached out to her with all the help. It almost left me in tears (yes, its kindness that makes me cry these days, rather than sadness)

I wanted to reach out to you too and give you a hug. Maybe one day we will meet in person and I will save that hug till then. I want to say that because of you Achieng is now able to get her young relatives educated and this way your help is extending beyond one generation of people.

God bless you Ruth!!!

If there are women like you, this earth will never lose its beauty,no matter how many scars evil doers create!

Much love

Ruth Beedle
Nov 08, 2011
Nov 08, 2011

Lovely Stella, there are women like US - you included! - all around this world and we are here loving and encouraging and supporting and cheering each other on. And I am so glad that your tears are now of joy as opposed to sadness. Soon, very soon you will hear your laughter as you grow to know and love the sisters and aunts and mothers you will be making while you spend time completing your assignments, being coached, mentoring and encouraging others.

As for Bea, she very simply was an answer to my prayer. And when a prayer is answered, it makes no sense to say no!!!

Arms around you!

Wendy Bone
Nov 03, 2011
Nov 03, 2011

I am so very happy for you my friend, and look forward to following you and supporting you on your journey. Thank you for mentioning me among the other women who have inspired you, and for showing your care for us. : ) It gives me spirit to continue on my path and keep writing, even if I do want to withdraw sometimes. The world is in such a state that it needs the guidance of women more than ever--now is definitely not the time to go quiet, but to speak and become more engaged in the world.

Beehives are run by women!

I look forward to keeping in touch with you and all the other women working to make a difference here on World Pulse. : )

Love, Wendy

Stella Paul
Nov 04, 2011
Nov 04, 2011

Dear Wendy

I see too much courage in what you are doing - giving everything up and trying to build a new world, knowing very well that it will be full of difficulties. In fact I am going to closely follow you,know more of your work because there is a lot to learn!!!

Meanwhile, all my love and support. Keep moving ahead and inspiring many,many more.

Much love

sibongile zgambo
Nov 03, 2011
Nov 03, 2011

Thanks Stella,will continue to share what i have and support women all over the world. Am not a quitter my dear, am a fighter and will continue to write on pulsewire. Bravo to you all who have made it. sibongile

Stella Paul
Nov 04, 2011
Nov 04, 2011

Your message made my day Sibo! I am absolutely thrilled to have you as a friend and to be assured now of staying friends with you - that's just so beautiful.

You are strong, warm and talented. Only your enemies should be quitters (thats how we say it in India) - not you.

Love!

sibongile zgambo
Nov 04, 2011
Nov 04, 2011

Thanks dear, wish you well and goodluck on your journey. Love always , sibo

Gretchen Cooper
Nov 04, 2011
Nov 04, 2011

I am happy to read this from you! Congratulations! I look forward to following your future articles and thoughts.

Stella Paul
Nov 04, 2011
Nov 04, 2011

I look forward to many,many sessions of interaction with you and increase my own level of knowledge. Love

Jennifer Baljko
Nov 05, 2011
Nov 05, 2011

Hello Stella Congrats as a well! You are a source of inspiration for all of us! - Jenn

Stella Paul
Nov 05, 2011
Nov 05, 2011

Dear Jenn

Thank you, both for reading on and for caring to comment. Great to meet you, you know!

Okeny-Lucia
Nov 06, 2011
Nov 06, 2011

Hey Dear Sister many days of loneliness,without hearing from me I know.That is well said and done.Congratulations,I wish you well,you came out strongly ,Signs of women of power and resilience.All the best lets look out for each other here in Pulse.

Stella Paul
Nov 08, 2011
Nov 08, 2011

Dear Lucia

I have been reading all our latest posts and I can see from your enthusiasm and energy that you too are riding a wave now. So, the groove is ours now. So happy!

Amie Bojang-Sissoho
Nov 07, 2011
Nov 07, 2011

Stella Dear, I share your thoughts. I only hope that we shall all stay connected despite the selection. It must have been difficult for the WP team. As we celebrate Eid from our part of the world. I say Eid Mubarak to all Pulsewire members.

Stella Paul
Nov 08, 2011
Nov 08, 2011

Dear Amie

Hope you had a blessed Eid. May you have a blessed year ahead and a wonderful time in VoF too

Osai
Nov 09, 2011
Nov 09, 2011

Hi Stella,

Mega congrats! I was so proud when I saw your name on the list. I was like 'go girl'. The truth be told, only 30 people can be selected. I would have been thrilled if I was one of them but was prepared if I wasn't. I agree with Udoka that I would have been very surprised if you were not on the list because you write with such fire (passion) and clarity. It is an amazing quality. You are like a breath of fresh air and at the same time so deep.

When I saw the list announcement much later, I think 2 or 3 days later when I checked my email at the airport, I had similar thoughts. Would I keep writing...? I want to, that's why I applied in the first place. Would I feel motivated to write? There is inspiration everywhere and within our community, the support is also there. With sisters like you and MaDube, we would always have something to connect with. Did I say that I had a chance meeting with her in Banjul, during the African Commission Session? We connected instantly.

I am commenting sooooooooooo late which is not intentional. I have been on the road and in the air since October 7! I haven't yet gotten the hang to write, work and intervene at the same time. Internet access in remote areas does not help much. Right now, I am writing from Liberia, where I am observing the run-off election.

I would not go quiet and I would not withdraw. I hope other VOF 11 applicants and winners would continue to write and join our voices to advocate for the change we seek. We are only just beginning and as I affirm.."We Rock!"

In sisterhood, Osai

Follow the conversation on twitter. Use the hastag: #vof11

Achieng Nas
Nov 16, 2011
Nov 16, 2011

Stella, I have been watching you from a distance. There is such a passion in you that nothing can ride on. If you were not among the 30 elects, I believe you would still keep on. Now that you are, keep on. I was, unfortunately, not among the 30 BUT made it to the final 3. Things happen when you least expect. Take it the way it comes. And to all my other sisters, never give up. This is your platform. Someone somewhere is reading your journal (from a distance).

Stella Paul
Nov 16, 2011
Nov 16, 2011

Dear Achieng

I usually am a passionate person, but WP does something to me that no other forum can: inspiring me to just open up like a floodgate. And that inspiration comes from women like you - women of word, thoughts and deed.

I am very happy to see that many of the sisters are writing on (I would surely have, you guessed it right), even though they are not in 30. And that makes this place so special. Nobody is indeed a nobody. Everyone is being read, commented upon, shared, moved forward and even motivated by.

Thanks to you too, for being there, watching! Feels soooo good!

Love