This month marks one year since I began dancing. Sometimes it’s difficult to see how much something has changed you, but not this time. The change dancing brought upon me was both swift and everlasting, and this past year has been the happiest of my life.

There are times in a group class when we’ll cover a move from some weeks or months ago and I’ll dread it because that first time I did so terribly. Yet this time it all clicked, and all those steps that confused me so much just happen naturally. I’ll ask my teacher to dance a warm-up to something we hadn’t done in awhile, expecting I’ll stumble all through it desperate for a refresher. And then nail it asking myself “where’d that come from?” I’m able to physically feel just how far I’ve come.

Now some things haven’t changed. I’m still the quiet one with the terrible stage fright, who gets teased by her teacher because of it.I’m the girl who still embarrasses herself (and gets embarrassed) on the dance floor. I’m still the girl who is sometimes too shy to ask, who is still occasionally plagued by the idea I’m being a bother to all the dancers here long before me.

But I’m also now the girl who does dips and body rolls and many other things I never would have believed 13 months ago, like go out and perform for a full room. I’m the one doubled up with laughter at then end because my teacher caught me doing goofy poses behind his back. I’m the girl who can now accept a stranger’s offer to dance, and ask a stranger in turn without shrinking into some corner. I’m the girl who’s now part of a wonderful dance family.

Here’s to another year.