Part 4: My Perspective – The Grand Finale

Part 4: My Perspective – The Grand Finale

(This is the longest one. I swear!)

June 4th. I announced to the world (Facebook) that Mr. Man was no longer Mr. Man. Thing 2 was not stealth. She wanted everyone to know. And the stress was eating me from the inside out on who knew, who didnt, how much people knew. I couldn’t take it. I had no control of the message.

So I put it out in to the world wide interwebs. On the day of her first birth, it was as if she was being reborn.

I knew the Masters saw it. I announced her new name. The masters never once called her by her new name. Always by her deadname. In their defense, we stopped spending enough time with them to even use her new name.

Ok so summer session starts. And I prepay all of summer – June, July, Aug. Up front. I didn’t want to deal with that payment this summer.

Things seemed to be going Ok. Thing 1 started having more accidents. We successfully had no idea what was going on. Now, I know Thing 1 has not been the perfect student the entire 3 years. She has had her fair share of getting in to trouble. But by golly she had been working EXTREMELY hard the past few months. Extremely is definitely an understatement.


(Another week has gone by since I have been able to devote any more time to finish my perspective view of the story.)

The masters constantly were talking to us about changing their diets; that they live a very nutritionally healthy lifestyle and they contributed alot of issues to what we feed our kids.

Ok…we went along as much as possible. I agree. We definitely do not eat the healthiest. But going completely gluten and sugar free, is just not an option for our family.

They had other rules, er rather expectations. No monster high socks. Modesty was a huge one. Snacks that met specific dietary and nutritional values. Pushups and wallsits for punishments. And they had their own opinions on medications that were not natural. I was fine with going along with the flow. This is what it takes to be an amazing leader and an elite athlete. Right?! And Thing 2 has a deep passion for TKD. So ok.

Shortly after summer session started, cheerleading also started. Now, this is our 2nd year cheering. So nothing new to the masters. The first month, practices were random bc the girls were just practicing for the 4th of July parade. Regular practices did not start until July.

It took me a couple days to let the masters know when I needed to pick Thing 2 up early from class so she could get the most out of each class but also be able to just jump in my car. Wasn’t a problem last year. Or during soccer. Or during gymnastics.

So Master X told me she wanted me to email her the schedule so she would have it in writing.

Ok no problem.

So I did just that. Here is the excerpt from my email:

“…..I should have sent this e-mail out last week but better late than never. I will need to get Bai out the door by 525P Tues & Thurs for the next few months. Once school starts – practice might go down to 1 day a week. Starting Aug 1st, I will need to grab her right at 620P on Wednesdays as well…”

Thing 2 had practices 4 days a week. For 3 years.


Tues/thurs she did 3 classes, and on wed it was 1 class and then sparring or weapons (which ended at 620P btw) It was close to 7hrs a week of just pure TKD. She was at a brown belt, and had 3 more belts until black belt testing. This child has been attending this dojang 5 days a week, for 3 years. She only missed if she was sick. And she only missed 1 belt test due to pneumonia. During the 4 month cheer season, she would be looking at missing maybe 30 mins of class (out of 7ish) per week. This is the response we received 4 days later, on a Sunday afternoon:


“…Steele family,

Thank you for the email.

I regret that we cannot enroll Bailey for the 2018-2019 XX After School Martial Arts school year and summer camps. We are first and foremost a martial arts school, and our after school program is exclusively for the purpose of training students in taekwondo so they can persue a Black Belt. We cannot care for any student that is not training in the martial arts 4 days a week. An absence here or there is one thing. But one martial arts class a week for an extended period of time is not offered.

We love you guys and will be watching you on Facebook!!!!!




………….At this point, I lost it. I started connecting all of the dots. I didn’t want to. But I was in mama wolf mode now.


After spending $20K over 3 years there, this is how they treat us? So what if we have to extend black belt training by 2 months. More money for you.


Ohplusalso, I know other students that do not even attend for the entire summer, or have way more extracurricular activities that take precedence.


I was livid. I attempted to reach them by email and text message. To no avail. I gave them almost 24hrs to respond. To set up a meeting. Anything. They have never had problems replying to my texts messages late at night on any day of the week.  I even told them that I gave Thing 2 a choice, and she agonizingly chose TKD.


I told my husband that there was no way I could face them Monday to pick up Thing 1. I didn’t sleep…at all…that night. Seriously. I had 4 large energy drinks before 10am (this is also the day the new me went into hiding).


During my intense rage, I did post a couple things. 1 FB post saying we needed a new TKD school bc we would not be going back to XXX (nothing bad….I didnt explain why). And then I made a post about how this mama wolf was going to protect her children and I posted a bunch of memes of how wolves are fierce and loyal. I didnt mention the TKD school at all.


I also had contacted some people I had connections with that were past or current students of that dojang. I told my side of the story if they asked. I asked if they had been treated the same way in terms of attendance issues.


Later that day, I had a consult with my sleep study doc and my blood pressure was so high that they almost sent me to the ER. But I convinced them not to. I have never had blood pressure issues. I was just intensely angry.


The afternoon went by and I decided I could go with the husband  to pick our daughter up. Since they were not responding to my requests for a face to face meeting to discuss this and for them to break up with me in person, I decided I needed to go to them.


Well….I probably shouldn’t have. Because that decision was the final nail in the coffin we didnt realize was already shutting.We got there. Master X was busy. Master y and z asked if I needed anything else. And I told them I wanted to make an appointment and I would just wait in the lobby until she was available because I have tried multiple times to get a response.


Master Y and Z offered to write it on a post it note and give it to her. I said sure but that I was going to wait in that lobby until I saw them give the note to her. I asked if they could give it to her now and they told me I was rude. Or something like that. Ok. Fair enough. I will wait. I have all night.


And then one of the other moms that I have become friends with showed up. She had no idea of the situation. So I went over to her just to say a friendly hello like usual.


(P.s. I can feel my blood pressure rising right this moment)



And that is when all hell broke loose. Master X opened her door and she told me I couldnt talk to

her people and that I was defaming their reputation online and this and that. I could barely get a word in. At this point we were yelling at each other in the lobby in front of my 2 kids and another family.So I did what I thought was logical and moved closer to her so I could lower my voice and talk in a calmer matter.


Well that just escalated the situation. Master X’s son came and stepped in between us because I was apparently being threatening. I still couldnt get my point out of my mouth before I was shut down multiple times.I asked a question about why Thing 2 couldnt come back (I really wanted to hear their reasoning from them, while looking me in my eyes). But the question was ignored. So I said I wanted a refund for Aug (since I already prepaid). They said no.So I walked out. I didnt say bye. I didnt bow like routine. I just walked out.


(p.s. this is all synopsis. I do not have a photographic memory of the exact verbiage. Just they key points I have etched in to my soul because I replied each second of that afternoon over, and over, and over, and over in my soul)


I burst in to tears. All this rage. Just let out. And I collapsed. In the parking lot. And I couldnt breathe. The other mom was outside. We gave eachother a hug, I told her I would talk to her later. And we parted ways.


I walked to our truck. I stepped up. My husband was almost to the truck. And we looked back. Master X and Z had followed us out there. I dont know why. They wanted me to leave. I left.


I sat in the hot black truck. The kids in the back seat. They were watching this all unfold. The windows rolled shut. and I watched my husband walk back to the middle of the lane and talk calmly to them.


My husband is amazing. I do not give this man enough credit. But he deserves an award. Because he is always there to remedy the situation after I escalate things. So he had gotten tensions eased. I shouldn’t have opened the door.


And I really shouldn’t have gotten out.


But I did.

All rational thought had left this brain 24hrs ago. All actions were pure anger and fury.I opened the door. My husband got to the root of the issue.


We discovered that in my email, I just said practice…..not cheer practice (mind you, this dojang has only called TKD classes….classes since at least we started).Ok… I forgot a word. I am not sure of exact details of how the next few minutes unfolded. But the coffin was being buried 6 feet under in those ensuing moments.


I remember asking, or at least trying, to ask why they sent that type of response rather than clarifying what exactly I meant.


My brain couldnt wrap around the fact that we were being dumped and tossed aside (at least that is how I felt) after an intense 3yrs together and $20K spent. We followed most of their suggestions and thought we were meeting their expectations.


They replied that it was the professional response to give…………….


Read that again.


They said, replying to my email about dropping down to 1 day a week and therefore, in payments terms, kicking a dedicated taekwondo artist out of the dojang….was the professional response……Professional. Response.


I tried to reason with them. I tried explaining my side. They made me take responsibility for missing ONE WORD. But when I asked for the same from them, to apologize about their “professional response due to a misunderstanding”

….I couldnt even get the words out. I spoke over them. Asking a couple more times about why they weren’t accepting my trans daughter back. And the one thing they did say, was that this is not the same and that is a different situation (or conversation).

I forking lost it. I lost it so hard. I already knew I was nowhere near the tracks. And I do take full responsibility for escalating things. I take full responsibility for saying fuck (or fuck you) because I could not say more than 3 words without the masters shutting me down.

My husband finally got me in the car.


Other Posts In Series:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 5

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