2014 Reflections

12/31/2014 02:01:00 PM Lexie Dunne 6 Comments

2004 was the worst year of my life.

That’s a weird way to begin an entry on the last day of 2014, but stay with me. 2004 began horribly. The first few hours were okay—I went to stay with a college friend in her hometown a couple hours from mine, and had a great time with all of her friends—but after that, it spiraled. I got a call from my dad that I needed to come home, that my grandfather had had a stroke. He was my mom’s dad, and he had Alzheimer’s, which meant his health had been failing for a long time. He was a big man with an even bigger laugh and a Texas drawl. He wore lots of plaid shirts and suspenders, and he always used to say to Zoe when she jumped on his lap, “And how’s your mom and them?”

He never woke.

It was the first death I’d really dealt with, and I didn’t handle it well. I was a sophomore in college and I didn’t leave my dorm room or go to class, and everything kept avalanching, but I couldn’t do anything. I didn’t know why. The stuff was there, but I was stuck in this loop of inactivity. Near the end of the semester, it all broke, and I finally worked up the nerve to tell a friend was going on. My parents came to get me and I had to face every single professor whose classes I’d skipped all semester. I spent the rest of college fully unable to look my German professors in the eye after those meetings, which you can imagine was difficult since that was one of my majors.

I came home, got a job, and enrolled in a local community college because I didn’t know what else to do. The rule in our house was graduate high school, then you go to college. I’d failed at college. Me. The one for whom school had always been the easiest. And I’d failed because…I couldn’t hack it.

I spent most of the year adrift, not knowing what the hell I was going to do about anything. Looking back now with the wisdom hindsight gives you, I can tell you that I was likely suffering from depression, the way a lot of people do. And it wasn’t my fault, and I wasn’t weak, and if I’d needed therapy or medication, that wouldn’t have been weakness either. But at the time, there was a lot of self-loathing, especially after I signed up for a semester a local community college and worked at a gas station tossing pizza dough.

I don’t remember when my turning point was, but I think it was the college. It had to be. I hated that place: I was bored all the time, expecting something harder or more challenging. And I think I saw a life where I could languish and it scared me. I went back to face my German professor, signed up for a school trip, enrolled in a new major, and I did Nanowrimo again, writing a book that, while it’s very near and dear to my heart, I’m never letting any of you see (sorry about that).

I was one of the lucky ones. 2004 turned around. In fact, precisely ten years ago as I’m writing this, I was sitting in a dance hall in the town of Bad Feilnbach in Bavaria, watching older German couples dance to the polka while I grimaced at my first beer, which came in a GIANT glass (I do not believe in dipping one toe into the water. My first beer was a Dunkelbier. That’s right. I started with the darkest possible beer in the beer-making capital of the world and it’s possible I’m still traumatized by that). All of this is while the woman who would become one of my very best friends sat a couple seats away, probably laughing at the Silvestertanz just like me.

(My friend Georgia, who is half-Russian and half-Irish, finished the beer for me)

2004’s been on my mind a lot lately, possibly because 2014 was so very different. There’s a post going around Tumblr, a drawing of a woman pouring gasoline over something you can’t see, lighting a match. In the final panel, it’s revealed to be a charred 2014. I’ve seen it from a lot of the people I follow, with tags that 2014 has been a shit year.

2014 was the year my biggest dream came true.

All in all, it wasn’t the best year of my life. My dog Joey passed away of old age. There were far too many health problems and I spent a lot of time grieving for food I’ll never be able to eat again (no, really, there was a whole bit with the five stages of grief, I am not kidding). But in 2014, I:
  • Received an email that I was going to get published.
  • Signed a publishing contract.
  • Met so many great friends from online, you have no idea. Sneaky and Mike and Sam!! I saw Lucky again (TWICE). We spent a great morning with Karen “Rocket Snail” VictoriaNoir.
  • Got a new nephew.
  • Got to meet Tamora Pierce.
  • Got to meet Brandon Sanderson.
  • Got to meet Kelly Sue DeConnick.
  • Saw the sun rise over the Grand Canyon.
  • Got to see the Daily Show Live
  • Got to meet my fantastic agent Rebecca
  • Got to meet my fantastic editor Rebecca
  • Had Nikki move in with me permanently.
  • Spent a lot of great time with my wonderful friends.
  • Received FANART!
  • Saw my best friend survive nursing school!
  • Turned 30.
  • Moved to a new apartment where Nikki can scare the geese away to her heart’s desire.
  • Met a lot of you.
And ten years ago, when life was horrible? I wouldn’t have been able to see any of that.

2004’s always going to stick with me, but I think 2014 now might, too. In a much better way. And a lot of that comes from you guys who stuck around through my writing days, or came because of the book, and I want to stop and say thank you for every kind thing you’ve said, or joke you’ve shared on Twitter. For all of the reviews and encouragement, and celebrations, and comments. You guys are the best.

Here’s to 2015. Let’s hope none of us want to set it on fire, eh?

Stay sexy, and Happy New Year!


  1. Haha. You're old.

  2. I'm sitting in a restaurant crying... wondering why you don't tell me these things when they are happening. Remember that you are one of the four most wonderful things in the universe. I love you.

    1. Aw, I'm sorry I made you cry, Mom. And I didn't say these things as they were happening because that's a hallmark of depression. It's been ten years and I've come a long way from that, and it's a lot because you and Dad. Love you, too.

      The other three things are Nikki, Moxie, and Charlie, AND I'M TELLING ALL OF MY SIBLINGS THAT.

  3. Best of luck for everything in 2015 :)

  4. Sounds like you had an amazing 2014! Continued success and all the best in 2015!


Please keep it PG. My mom reads this blog.