NOTE: This is one of my Sanity Check columns, originally published several years ago in the Dayton Daily News.The shoes pictured are some of my ghost-busted practical favorites.

Halloween is just around the corner, which means it’s time to do some ghost-busting.

Ghosts that need busting can be pretty major.

For example, I have a friend (no, really; I’m not referring to myself!) who needed to release a toxic “frenemy” but was nervous about doing so… after all, she’d been associated with this frenemy for more than a decade.

Ghosts that need busting can also be—at least at first analysis—pretty minor.

For me, that would be the ghosts of high heels past.

I have always loved wearing high heels, and from my teens up until a few years ago, wore them at every opportunity. High heeled boots with jeans. High heeled pumps with dresses. If there had been high heeled sneakers (and I’m guessing that somewhere, there probably are), I’d have worn ‘em with sweatpants, never mind the absolute ridiculousness of that.

Still… a few years ago, I had to finally admit that high heels were no longer a good choice for me. I’d twisted my ankle a few times too many—the first few times, by the way, while wearing perfectly flat, sensible, high quality sneakers. Go figure. But the end result is that now if I so much as tip toe near high heel shoes, my left ankle starts getting sprain-like twinges.

So, I’m slowly making the transition to cute flats, with an occasional kitten heel.

But the truth is… I’m haunted by the ghosts of high heels past. Silly? Impractical? Fine. But high heels have long symbolized femininity and vitality to me.

However, I’ve come to realize that I need to bust those ghosts of high heels past… find new symbols of femininity and vitality.

Of course, real life “ghost busting” is definitely more difficult than the movie version. Our old ghosts like to trick us into keeping them around… whispering at us things like, one more try with that frenemy… or that cute pair of stilettos.

So, we have to use tricks to bust those ghosts. My friend-with-the-frenemy’s trick was to talk out her feelings with trusted, true friends.

And whenever I really start missing those high heels, I used the trick of remembering that when I first started wearing them, I also I used to wear big, teased hair. And way too much eyeshadow. And cute floral blouses with ribbon bows. Looked pretty happenin’ at the time. But now… even scarier than a Halloween ghost costume!

But the good news is that by busting those ghosts—even if it takes a few tricks of our own—we get to enjoy a few treats.

When my friend finally got up the courage to let her frenemy association fade away, she found—to her delight—that suddenly she had time in her life for new relationships… and because of that, ended up with two new friends who are just as supportive of her as she is of them.

And now that I’m walking easier and more confidently in adorable flats, I find myself freed to actually focus on the world, and people, around me as I walk along, instead of constantly being distracted by the possibility of another ankle twist.

Happy Halloween… and ghost busting!

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Be well,