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February is a tough time of year for those of us in the northern climes. It seems as if winter will last forever and the sun is but a distant memory.

February requires toughness to survive. By the time it is March, we know we can make it. I had a very good friend living with my family. She came to spend the weekend while contemplating a divorce. She stayed for a year. Everyone should be so lucky to have a friend like her.

She sat me down about this time in January for a heart-to-heart. She asked if I had a plan for surviving February that did not involve somehow changing my hair. “What do you mean?” I said. (I have fairly curly hair, which was then naturally dark brown.)

“Well,” she said, “I’ve noticed a pattern in your life. Every February you make a really bad hair decision.” She itemized them for me:

There was the time I used the henna that didn’t wash out as advertised and that was not even close to auburn. Think orange. There was the time I had bangs cut by someone who didn’t realize that curly hair shrank as it dried giving me a Mamie Eisenhower look. And the time I fell for the line that a permanent would tame my curls into loose submission and instead I looked like I had a head full of hair usually found elsewhere on the body. And the year I used three boxes of Lilt as straightener and pretty much fried my hair.

My good friend advised me to try some other way of surviving February and to leave my hair alone. We made a really fun list and had a very good laugh. Another, newer friend and I were emailing each other about hair. I said I thought a well-timed hair cut was part of good mental health. I started to contemplate getting a new style when I remembered what time of year it was. Wow, I almost fell back into my old pattern.

We each probably have patterns of which we are completely unaware. One of the gifts that good friends give us is insight into ourselves. I view the insights I get from my BPI friends as one of the reasons I’m here.

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