I don't know why, but for most of my life I have had trouble asking for what I want. I would go so far as to say that I occasionally have a low-level fear in some situations. I don't like talking to strangers, I despise having to ask for information or help, and I will almost always try to work something out myself first even if it would be faster to just ask someone. I even hate having to do something as simple as calling in an order for take-out food. This is one of the reasons why I love the internet so much. I can get my prescriptions filled, get driving directions, order from a catalog, and even grocery shop without having to talk to anyone. And the internet is often faster and more efficient than the "old-fashioned" way. However, there are still many situations in life where relying on the internet is not an option or is simply not going to lead to the result I am after.
Zoe, on the other hand, has absolutely no fear or issues with asking for what she wants. She usually orders for herself when we're in a restaurant and she is never afraid to ask a question of anyone. Several months ago we were at Danbury Mall and Zoe wanted to go to Claire's. I didn't know where Claire's was in the mall so I told Zoe we'd have to find a directory. That wasn't working for her so she marched into the next store and went right up to the counter and asked "Where's Claire's?" I was amazed. Of course she got the directions and we were able to head right to the store. Where did she learn to be so fearless about asking for what she wants? Then I realized that a better question was "what exactly is my problem?"
Since that day I have been making an effort to ask for what I want and it is actually working. Just this past week I was able to get the cost of shipping for my new desk refunded to me because of poor customer service. The store didn't offer it to me, I spoke to the store manager and asked for a refund and it was granted. That felt really good. Last month when I was going through my job change my original offer letter had a title that I felt was a demotion so I asked for a different title -- and I got it. That was a tough one for me to do despite the fact that I was able to handle it via email. The old me never would have done that.
I spend so much of my time with Zoe teaching her how to do things or how to behave, showing her new places, giving her new experiences, but every now and then she has a lesson for me. It takes me by surprise every time -- especially because it turns out to be so helpful to my life.