Mom of two Kelley Markland was so excited to receive a handwritten letter, thinking that it might have been a note from one of her friends. But when the substitute teacher opened it, she said she went "numb" and instantly "froze."
The letter was from a stranger. And it was mocking her for her weight.
Being a plus-size woman, Markland was used to hearing negative comments about her weight on a regular basis. But this one especially stung, since she had just begun to renew her confidence by updating her wardrobe with some bright and colorful leggings.
She said, "The more I wore [leggings], the more I wanted to keep wearing them because I felt pretty and good in them. My wardrobe turned from black because I tried to hide and not stand out, to blues and pinks."
And the leggings were exactly what the hurtful note called out, saying she "shouldn't" wear them.
Markland's husband was about to throw the note away, but she stopped him. Instead, she chose to make it public on her Facebook page.
In the caption, she wrote, "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."
She continued, "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."
Before long, Markland's message had been liked more than 600 times, with tons of people sending her supportive comments.
But that wasn't the end of the story.
She started out with the intention of only venting to her friends, but so many people saw it that the news got back to a photographer who wanted to donate a special photoshoot just for her.
The best part? They wanted to take one specifically of her showing off her leggings for the world to see.
On top of that stunning photo op, she also used the painful experience as inspiration to start posting more photos and videos of her wearing more pairs of her favorite leggings for her followers.
And what does she think about the writer of the infamous note now?
She said, "I really do think that the writer's purpose was to make me feel bad and perhaps stop wearing leggings. Instead, I have become stronger, a little more confident, and a lot more determined!"
A true inspiration to us all.