Unfortunately, there are people in this world who are so bored or miserable with their own lives that they have to spread their anger and hate to others.
But Kelley Markland was not about to let people like that get the best of her.
In fact, when one of those people struck out against her, she turned their slight into an anti-bullying movement to promote positivity and acceptance. Markland, a substitute teacher in Port Orange, FL, is no stranger to bullying.
She was bullied about her weight when she was a kid and thought those days were long gone until she received a hateful letter in the mail.
The note told her that she was too fat to wear leggings and also included a mean photo with it.
When she opened the unmarked letter that was mailed to her house she found a picture of a woman bending over in leggings with a meme below of a picture of Anchorman’s Ron Burgundy saying: “Your pants say yoga but your butt says McDonald’s.”
“At first I thought it was a really mean joke,” Markland told TODAY.
But that was before she read the handwritten note which said: “Women who weigh 300 pounds should not wear yoga pants!!”
Markland was extremely upset over the post. It even made her cry. But after she was sad, she got mad and took to Facebook to sound off. She explained how she was crushed by the incident in a post that ended up going viral.
“So, I came home from celebrating a fun birthday dinner for Mia and we were all so happy! I open my mail to find this envelope with a silly picture (not me in that picture BTW) and a note. Apparently, I weigh 300 pounds and I shouldn’t wear leggings anymore. Anyone who knows me, knows that I care deeper and stronger than many. I am a sensitive woman and I despise cruelty towards others. At 36 years old, I am STILL being made fun of. Whoever sent this, be an adult and tell me who you are. JUST TELL ME!!!” she wrote.
“I have never pretended to be pretty or look good in clothing, I have never tried to be flashy or show off. Wearing my ‘fun’ leggings gave me a tad bit of confidence in not looking sloppy all the time. I’m sorry that some of you may not like it, but I’m not dressing for you. All the hate in this world and you have to pick on me for this?! Thank you for making me feel like absolute, complete shit. A wonderful night with my family had to end like this…..so unbelievably disappointed in people anymore.”
She admits that the hateful words got inside of her and made her self-conscious when she went to put on leggings to get dressed for work on Monday.
But she was not about to let the bully succeed.
“I had to remember, if I walked around defeated and scared, then whoever sent that letter wins. And I wasn’t going to let that person win. At all,” Markland explains.
She had no idea that her colleagues and friends all had her back. She found that almost all of her colleagues were dressed in leggings the next day when she arrived at school for work.
Markland knew that this was the start of something important.
“It’s been amazing and mind blowing,” she said. “It’s so inspiring to have other people telling me that what they’re doing now is because of this little act of bullying.”
Markland’s friend, kindergarten teacher Cindy Martin, spread the word about what happened to Markland and got other teachers to show their solidarity.
Even some parents came to school wearing leggings.
“The entire staff, we were all just heartbroken for her because she is the nicest, most giving person in the world,” Martin said. “And it’s not like she ever wears something inappropriate, or like a half shirt with it. We definitely wanted a message out there that we are not going to put up with bullying. We teach this in the classroom all the time.”
Markland also received support from women all over the world who said they bought leggings for the first time because of Markland.
“How incredibly cruel and cowardly – it is ‘always’ about the messenger so feel pity for them and move on … in your yoga pants!” said one Facebook user.
Markland says she’s so happy to see something so positive come out of the situation.
She’d even like to thank the person who sent the note.
“It’s been amazing and mind-blowing. It’s so inspiring to have other people telling me that what they’re doing now is because of this little act of bullying,” she said. “Only because they started a positive movement by sending me that letter. Their intention was for me to feel bad and stop wearing leggings. Instead, women all over will gain more confidence.”
See the Markland’s post below.
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So, I came home from celebrating a fun birthday dinner for Mia and we were all so happy! I open my mail to find this…