Kelley Markland can’t remember a time she wasn’t bullied for her weight. “When I was growing up the kids called me ‘Kelley Jelly Belly,” the substitute teacher from Port Orange, Florida, tells Us Weekly. “As an adult I have been mooed at while exercising or out walking.” And on November 18 Markland received hate mail, presumably sent by someone she knows. “Women who weigh 300 pounds should not wear yoga pants!” read the anonymous handwritten letter. Also in the envelope: an Anchorman meme that that said “Your pants say yoga but your butt says McDonalds.”
After crying in the bathroom for over an hour, a heartbroken Markland sat down at her computer. “At 36 years old, I am STILL being made fun of. Whoever sent this, be an adult and tell me who you are,” the mom of Miles, 10, and Mia, 8, wrote in a Facebook post published later that day. 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 … Thank you for making me feel like absolute, complete s–t.”
But nearly three weeks later, Markland is feeling empowered. “Several teachers from my kids’ school wore leggings to show their support,” she tells Us. “I was blown away.” And women have been posting body-positive stories and photos using the hashtag #LeggingsWin.
“The letter killed me inside and I still get upset by it,” says Markland, “but at the same time I have gained immense strength.”
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