By Kelsey Klein


Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said: “one can’t believe impossible things.”

“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

That’s from Through the Looking Glass, And What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll.

I’ve always loved Lewis Carroll’s Alice stories. They’re about hope, dreaming, discovery, and impossibility—themes that appealed to me even when I was too young to understand what a theme is. It wasn’t until recently that I realized how much I had internalized lessons from Alice—especially belief in impossible things.

The author and her flute. Photo by Joyce Klein.

As a young musician, I believed I would make a mark in my world. Other musicians underestimated me until I made waves in high school, playing what older flutists at my school couldn’t. I was soon playing with an invitation-only flute ensemble and with a university band as a high school junior. Now, I teach young flutists during the summer.

As a granddaughter, I believed my Pappy would live. Nothing could defeat my hero, not even cancer. He never

The author and her grandfather, 2007. Photo by Joyce Klein.

really woke up after the surgery. Now, when I look in the mirror and see his curly hair and spirited personality, I know he’s still alive.

As a college freshman, I believed I would find love. The tall, tattooed guy with the Rage Against the Machine bag caught my attention, but he never really saw me. Then he showed up in my history class. Now, he kisses me on the forehead every day and tells me how I changed his life.

As a writer, I believed I would someday be published. I knew I was good, if only someone would notice my work. My first poem was published in a newsletter when I was 11 years old. I soon started writing more often and was published several more times. I took up journalism and worked for my high school paper. Now, a piece I wrote on a jewelry artist will be published in a magazine.

As a human being, I believed I could find my passion. So many people go through life doing things they don’t enjoy and living without a real purpose. I didn’t want to be like those people. I ended up in a women’s studies class my sophomore year because I needed a few extra credits. After the first class period, I knew I found where I belonged. I changed my major from journalism to women’s studies a week later. I have found purpose and passion.

As a feminist, I believe violence against women can end. Almost 22 million—that’s about one in five –women in the United States are raped in their lifetimes. About 39 million women experience physical violence from a partner. I believe we can work to end this. It hasn’t happened yet, but with my track record of impossible beliefs working out, I think it can.

Sometimes we want something so badly we have no choice but to believe.

I believe in impossible things. It’s a habit.