Looking in the Mirror

For Zoe McLaskey '21 getting ready in the morning is more than just a simple task.


Everyone has things they wish they could change about themselves. From their clothes to their laughs, we all struggle with viewing ourselves with a positive light. No matter how confident you are, everyone has insecurities and Zoe McLaskey ’22 is no exception.

“I go through a lot of outfits. I just, that’s just how I work…I look at myself in the mirror, and I just try to be like, okay, You look fine. You look great. This is what you’re going to wear today because you’re going to push yourself to be more comfortable wearing clothes that you may not wear 24/7.”

On the good days, McLaskey leaves her house without a second thought. On the bad days, she changes. Either way, this is something McLaskey has dealt with from a young age. Starting from when she was in elementary school, she felt immense pressure from society to conform to a certain standard.

People look at social media and think I’m supposed to be that way. I’m supposed to be like this tough football guy when really, you just need to be yourself.

— Zoe McLaskey '21

“People look at social media and think I’m supposed to be that way,” McLaskey said. “I’m supposed to be like this tough football guy when really, you just need to be yourself. And I think the media really pushes like, ‘you need to be a certain way’.”

McLaskey found ways of coping and escaping the societal pressure through writing and taking photos.

“I really like the freedom of it. I like how you can put words on a page in your mind that you may not be able to say out loud,” McLaskey said. “And It’s really a lot of free expression. So If you have something holding up inside of you, you can just put it on the paper, You don’t have to talk, you don’t have to do anything, you just have to write, and taking photos can also do that.”

A self-portrait taken by Zoe McLaskey ’21

Taking photos and writing has been a key outlet and way of expression for McLaskey. But, it isn’t a solution. Much of gaining confidence is something she has to do for herself. It’s a never-ending process that takes a lot of practice.

“You need to push yourself to think,” McLaskey said. “What I mean by that is telling yourself something that you may not believe, like that you’re good enough and that you got this. Or that you look perfect the way you are. Kind of building yourself up, trying to tell yourself that it’s okay.”

Gaining confidence is a lot of work, but McLaskey has made great strides in gaining back her confidence.

Her mother, Tina McLaskey says, “Instead of hiding her insecurities, she has really embraced them. She doesn’t pretend that they aren’t there. She may think she isn’t confident enough, but it takes a ton of confidence to share those insecurities with people and to say that it is ok to be who she is.”

Even though McLaskey has her own struggles, she doesn’t hesitate to reach out and help her friends.

“We both have anxiety and she helps me with that and vice versa. She’s very kind and caring.” Her friend, Maggy Owen’22 says, “She’s a great listener and someone who you can talk to about absolutely anything.”

There is one piece of advice that has really helped and stuck with McLaskey throughout her life.

“Make sure that you’re being true to yourself and not pleasing yourself for other people, because I have a really bad habit of instead of pleasing myself, I like to please others. So [my mom’s] advice to me is just to be yourself. And that it’s okay that you may be different from other people.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email