BUILD-A-GIRL WORKSHOP: WHERE BEST CREATIVES ARE MADE BY ALEXANDRA SILVER
Date: April 7th, 1998
Setting: Penny’s From Heaven, Lake Forest, IL.
The store is buzzing, full of young women with pearled ears and pressed sweaters, searching through racks, balancing a Starbucks cup in one hand and dribbling a toddler
in the other.
Enter: Jeff Silver
The door bursts open, all women turn to find a 6’5” giant, towering high in the door frame.
“I need to buy everything pink in this store.”
The women exchange confused looks, one confronts the man, asking him if he needs assistance. “It’s a girl,” he replies.
“So you’d like to buy everything pink?”
And he truly did.
It is not that I think incredibly highly of myself, but the day I was born was monumental. Four Silver boys were born before me, until that spring morning when finally, Mr. and Mrs. Silver got their baby girl. Two more boys were born after I was. At last, Team Silver was complete with seven kids in all.
Instantly, my brothers noticed a change of pace. When they first held me in the hospital, my mother reminded them that they had to be gentle, for I was not like the boys.
It took me about nine years to see this difference in dynamics. I was at the ballet studio, running around during my break between classes, when I hopped up onto the bars of the dance room, then leaped down, taking a hard dive to the wooden floors. My tights ripped into shambles, my knees bloody and bruised, sent my mother over to remind me that it was not lady-like to behave in such a manner.
I was faced with the challenge of creating a unique identity for myself, something that would have to be different than the ones the boys were destined for. Essentially, my birthdate has driven my creativity. From the day I was born, I had to find innovative ways to be the girl amongst all the boys, my authentic self, without an instruction guide, but the limitless opportunities to be creative in creating such an identity.
I was to dress in pink from head to toe and steer clear of black and blue shins. I was to always cross my legs and maintain bows in my long hair. Yet my legs seem forever
scarred and battered and my hair is never tamed. I was encouraged to finish performances with curtsies, not bows, but instead, took a liking to raising trophies and biting medals. I found ways to take part in touch football, laser tag, and Nintendo Picto-Chat discussions. I was in on all being Power Rangers for Halloween, but I had to be the pink ranger. I sought creative ways to always be me, even if it was hard to tell it was me under the sheet of mud staining my face and clothes from playing soccer in the slushy
backyard. Being the only girl in a family of six boys has opened my eyes to endless chances for creative exploration of who I am.