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  • Writer's pictureFran Braga Meininger

The Spirit of Women

In honor of International Women's Day


Last evening, I was lead chef catering a wedding reception, an elaborate, special occasion that took a team of twelve to execute. It was hot, physically challenging and amazingly gratifying. The gratification was not the result of the work or the successful production, but rather the company of the women who surrounded me.

 

We were an all-woman crew, varied in age, ethnicity and life experience, but we pulled together as we collaborated and cooperated in a way I found unique and heartwarming. And I was not alone, that sentiment was echoed by many as we thanked each other and hugged before parting.

 

So, what makes for this experience? I spent time this morning reflecting on that question and have come to some conclusions.

 

Trust plays a part. I’ve met each of these women at least once before. I’ve worked with some on other occasions and have history with each of them; some brief and limited to only a part of my life, others on a deeper level. 

 

We know each other and genuinely care about each other. There is a connection beyond our jobs. While we work we spend time talking about our lives, sharing on a deeper level, beyond the work at hand. We move fast and work hard, focusing on what needs to happen, when we are busy, but as it slows down, we talk. I know a little something about each of them and they know me.

 

Shared interest weaves its way through the work we do together, as well. We are each more than a cook or a server. We have rich interests and passions. What we do together is how we support ourselves, but it’s only part of our life and part of who we are.

 

One of the women found me organizing the walk in refrigerator at the end of the night and excitedly announced she had sold her first painting. We had talked briefly at the last party about how she paints and I write, and she was proud to share her accomplishment with someone she knew would appreciate the deep pride that comes with being validated by a sale. I knew and shared her joy. We embraced and I told her I was proud of her. She knew I meant it. I was proud of a woman who does what she needs to do to pay her bills while never giving up on what comes from her heart; making time for artful expression, giving it wings and sending it off to the world. It was an intimate moment, experienced in an unexpected place, but it held us in true connection.

 

Above all else, we respect and appreciate our differences and admire each other for our accomplishments. We know we’ve all had our share of what life dishes up that is bitter and tough to swallow. I may not have immigrated to this country and had to face cultural challenges, discrimination and limited opportunity but I can empathize and support social justice. They may not know yet what it’s like to live in an aging body while working long hours under difficult conditions, but they can support me while I do.

 

We all have a story and a struggle, addiction, broken hearts and broken marriages, lack of opportunity, gender bias, racism, financial hardship. None of us is entitled or privileged and no one acts as if they are. We are hardworking, determined and powerful in our own right, and together we are even more.

 

Last night, we proved it. We lifted together, helped wherever we were needed, stepped up and held each other up as the night wore on. We giggled, gave thanks, talked candidly and brought out the best in ourselves and each other.

 

Ultimately, it was just one of those nights that makes me proud to be a woman.

 

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10 Comments


adry233
Mar 09

Fran that was truly incredible and inspiring. I am working on my own story will ready to send very soon . Thank you! You are a true inspiration Adriana

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Fran Braga Meininger
Fran Braga Meininger
Mar 09
Replying to

Thank you very much, Adriana.

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RS Engle
RS Engle
Mar 09

Wow, Fran, Thank You, Your words touch my heart and soul. What a gift and blessing God gave you in your writing, Please keep inspiring us.

Penny

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Fran Braga Meininger
Fran Braga Meininger
Mar 09
Replying to

Thank you for such a wonderful compliment. I'm so pleased my writing touches you.

All my best.

Fran

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rgraves731
Mar 08

Such an important topic Fran. Thank you, once again, for your writing that speaks from the heart.

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Fran Braga Meininger
Fran Braga Meininger
Mar 09
Replying to

Thank you for your kind words.

Blessings,

Fran

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Gayle Manfre
Gayle Manfre
Mar 07

Love this one Fran. I can totally relate. Keep writing, you are good at it.❤️

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Fran Braga Meininger
Fran Braga Meininger
Mar 07
Replying to

Thanks, Gayle. That means a lot to me.

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Sheila Flanagan
Sheila Flanagan
Mar 07

I thoroughly enjoyed 'The Spirit of Women.' Thank you for speaking to the benefits of sharing relationship in a community of women. It's vital for our continued growth mentally and spiritually to do both what we need to do to make a living and also do what feeds our passions. The exchange you had with your friend who worked beside you for this wedding and shared with you about her painting, was powerful and complimented you both. Thanks for this wonderful insight.😊

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Fran Braga Meininger
Fran Braga Meininger
Mar 07
Replying to

Thank you for your kind words, Sheila. I'm so glad you liked the piece.

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