Just like Alyssa in Mean Girls, I’m a gap-toothed bitch. Now my gap isn’t as bad as the Rimmel London model, but it’s bad enough for me to feel self-conscious about it. In fact, I’m not just self-conscious about the gap, I’m obsessed with it.  I constantly look at myself in the mirror and find myself frustrated with how my teeth look. The gap reminds me that no matter how much weight I lose, or how much effort I put into my appearance, that I’ll always have something undesirable and unfix-able bout me. And while I know self-deprecation isn’t sexy, it’s impossible for me to feel fully comfortable with my appearance.

I’ve had the gap for as long as I remember. And to an extent, I’ve learned to make jokes about it. I have this little bit where I say “cash or credit?” before swiping my debit card through my gap, which I’ve only realized is disgusting retrospectively. I even briefly had a drag persona named Rimmel as a way of poking fun at myself. But I think I subconsciously make fun of myself so that I can beat others to the punch line.  I’ve focused all my energy into being the funny kid because of my perceived physical shortcomings. I know I’m not the most attractive guy, so I’ve channeled my energy into making myself a desirable person in other ways.

Self-esteem issues are a tricky thing, the main issue being that you want to be reassured while simultaneously having your shortcoming acknowledged. You don’t want people to judge you for your flaw, but you also don’t want people to lie to you and say that it doesn’t exist. The scenario becomes more complicated if you see your flaw as something you can fix. Instead of ever getting used to it, you just fantasize about what life would be like if you’ve got it fixed. What’s even more damaging is that you get caught between representing yourself honestly and presenting your best self. I know I’ve had this issue. My favorite pictures of me are the ones where my gap isn’t visible. They’re the pictures I use in my social media accounts and dating apps. But there’s anxiety that stems from people being disappointed that my best self is too different from my normal one. I’m afraid that someone who finds my pictures attractive will be disappointed by how I am in real life, and as a result I’m wary to meet up with people in person.

I think the best way to combat self-esteem issues is by strengthening the other parts of your being. If you’re self-conscious about one thing, make yourself certain about another. For example, I don’t think I’m the most attractive guy, but I do think I’m very funny. I may not be the smartest person on the planet but I have a lot of caring friends. When you think that way, you remind yourself that you do have things to offer people. You start to realize that things like the gap in your teeth or your weight are relatively insignificant in the grand scheme of things. We don’t have to be the best version of ourselves to be happy. We just have to be giving our best effort. You don’t have to be the fittest person at the gym if you’re giving it your all. But at the end of the day, it is okay to change things about yourself if it will truly bring you happiness. The important thing to ask yourself is if the change will make you any better of a person.  And if there is something you dislike about yourself, try to find something positive in it. If you have a gap, like me, work hard to make the money to fix it. Don’t just sit around and wish things were different or let your insecurities turn into negativity. Because if you’re going to be a gap-toothed bitch, at least be a funny or happy one. Don’t be a bitchy gap-toothed bitch.