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More than just a new haircut

Depending on how long you’ve known me, prepare to meet either a whole new Tracy Agnew, or an old friend.

Yesterday, I became the same person I was four years ago, only four years older and wiser. I’m also about a half-pound lighter than I was this time last week, though certainly not lighter than I was four years ago.

On Monday, I cut my hair for Locks of Love — for the second time. The first time was four years ago, on my 22nd birthday. I did it on a whim, after having lunch with my dad, grandmother and cousin.

My cousin and I went to the salon after lunch. I’ll never forget what I was left with — a lighter head, less hair to wash and untangle in the morning and the knowledge that I would be helping to create a hairpiece for a young girl who cannot grow her hair because of a medical condition, most commonly alopecia areata.

Since that time, I have not cut my hair at all, with the goal of eventually donating it to Locks of Love again. Trust me, though. It’s been rough. The cost of shampoo alone is enough to make a long-haired woman want to wield scissors on her own head, never mind the amount of time spent untangling hair, searching for hair ties, digging it out of the shower drain and the sink and putting it up in the morning so it doesn’t get in your way.

Why keep it, with all the trouble, when some girl out there needs it?

That’s why I went to the JC Penney salon yesterday, and Kalisha cut an 18-inch braid off my head. My hair now falls to just under my ears, just like it did four years ago, and it feels outstanding.

Even better, though, is the feeling I’ll get knowing I helped a girl who’s likely been struggling with the self-esteem issues that hair loss brings for a young girl. It’s the same awesome feeling I get after I donate blood, or when I think about the fact that my organs will help save up to seven lives after I die.

When I don’t need or want it anymore, someone else gets to use it at no cost to me. That’s pretty cool — just like my new haircut.