i think i’m ugly


My friend sent our group chat a photo of me wearing the same expression as Side Eye Chloe. Round face, confused eyes, buck teeth — I was basically Chloe except I am not white, I am not a child, and I am not cute.

I look fugly as fuck, man. I blame my teeth. My two front teeth are crooked, and my midline sits three millimeters off-center to the right. The slant may not be obvious when my mouth is closed, but as soon as my misaligned buck teeth peep through, the jarring deformity unveils itself.

I know I’m ugly.


I started wearing braces when I was 16. My midline was okay back then, but my mouth was too small so my front teeth were squeezed together like a pair of butterfly wings mid-flap. To make space, my dentist took out my upper and lower premolars on the right side.

The braces didn’t work. The butterfly flap was corrected, but my teeth still protruded forward and my entire mouth shifted to the right.

My family moved to Canada so I had to get the wires removed before the new issues were resolved. My parents couldn’t afford another round of braces, so I worked and saved up and found a dentist who accepted hulugan payment. My new dentist suggested that I use Invisalign and get jaw surgery.

“Your chin is tilted to the right,” he said. “Your face is…let’s just say it’s not straight.”

I looked into jaw surgery options in the city, and the cheapest quote I got was for $7,000. I did not have the money at that time, so I opted out and went with just the Invisalign.

The Invisalign didn’t work either. After over a decade of jamming wires and plastics in my mouth, my teeth are still far from perfect.


I was browsing Reddit earlier looking for advice on how to like myself better. One Redditor shared that they keep a list of nice things people have said about them, and they go back to that list every time they feel down.

From a college classmate: “Kilala mo si P? Sabi niya ang ganda-ganda mo raw.”

From a college orgmate: “Bakit ayaw mong maniwalang maganda ka?”

From an old woman to my boss, back when I used to work at a pizza shop: “She’s very pretty.”

And that, my friends, is all I got.


On the other hand —

From my mom when I was about 4 years old: “Magpakabait ka ha, kasi hindi pwedeng pangit ka na nga, pangit pa ugali mo.”

From my Yaya Jen: “Maganda ka naman, pero sungki ngipin mo at malapad noo mo at pango ilong mo.”

From my Tita Lon to my mom (overheard by me): “Ang pangit ni J, buti na lang matalino.”

From my Grade 1 teacher Ma’am Lyd to another teacher Ma’am Weng (overheard by me): “Kung beauty pageant ‘yun, hindi mananalo si J.”

From a cousin, unprovoked, when we were about 9 or 10: “Alam mo ‘yung ugly duckling? Sana gan’un din tayo, ‘no? Sana gumanda rin tayo paglaki natin.”

From my brother when I asked him if my teeth were that bad: “Pangit ka naman e, so bagay lang.”

From a co-worker after telling her I wish I got paid more: “Yea, then you can go to South Korea and have plastic surgery.”

From multiple high school classmates: “Pustahan, foreigner lang papatol sa ‘yo.”

From an ex, a non-Filipino: “You’re not ugly, but you’re not pretty either.”


There’s nothing much I can do at this point, is there? It is a truth universally acknowledged that my face has absolutely no semblance of symmetry, the only quantifiable arbiter of beauty.

I know I’m ugly.

Featured photo by Pop & Zebra 


  1. $todaysLA

    I understand the emotion here, and am really sad that so many people have spoken so unkindly to you!
    Maybe, this is just something I use for myself when I feel bad about my looks and my missing tooth, try thinking: “There is no one just like me! Some are more attractive and some are less attractive, but no one is ME!”
    Because you can be incredibly beautiful & someone is always more beautiful. You can also be very ugly & someone else is always much uglier.
    Though personally, I think everyone has something beautiful about them! That means you!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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