Leggings (or yoga pants—whatever you want to call them) are an indisputable go-to item of clothing for most women. No one understands this better than Kelley Markland, which is why she was utterly shocked and humiliated after receiving an anonymous letter mocking both her weight and her choice to wear leggings every day.
"At first I thought it was a really mean joke," the 36-year-old mother of two told TODAY. The first thing she saw after opening the envelope was the backside of an unknown woman. Below it was a picture of a meme featuring Anchorman's Ron Burgundy saying: "Your pants say yoga but your butt says McDonald's."
And that's not it. Whoever mailed the letter, also included an incredibly disparaging handwritten note that read: "Women who weigh 300 pounds should not wear yoga pants!!" Ugh.
Understandably, Markland was heartbroken and took to Facebook to vent to friends about the unfortunate situation. Several people commented with their support and called out her bully for being a "coward."
While the kind words helped Markland feel a bit better, she found herself in a predicament while getting ready for work the following Monday. Most of her wardrobe consisted of leggings, but now she felt self-conscious and scared to put on a pair.
"I had to remember, if I walked around defeated and scared, then whoever sent that letter wins," she said, "And I wasn't going to let that person win. At all."
So, she put on a pair of leggings and made her way to work. To her surprise, nearly every one of her colleagues decided to wear leggings that day to show their support. Not only that, but even a few parents came into school wearing leggings while dropping and picking up their kids.
This unexpected, yet amazing outpouring of support from her community made Markland feel grateful, especially since she'd spent most of her life trying to hide her curves behind dark clothing. In fact, she had only recently started to wear leggings that fit well and had bright colors and bold patterns on them.
"It helped my confidence. It made me feel a little better about myself to where I took more pride in how I dressed," she said.
Now, Markland is determined to inspire others in her shoes, while sending a message to the person who sent her the hateful letter.
"I knew I couldn't hide and act scared because people were counting on me to keep wearing leggings and help them be comfortable with themselves," she said. "I want to help people feel confident, regardless of what they wear."
Thank you for sharing your story Kelley—and for teaching us the importance of loving our shape.