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You do not owe anything to anyone, except yourself

By Aurore Iradukunda

Young black woman saying no




Today, I was reminded that I do not owe anything to anyone, except myself. Well, of course we ought to be respectful to others etc. but this is not what I am getting at. 

In the past few years, I have realized how much of myself I was giving away, to please, to care, to help out. 

There was nothing wrong with being at the service of others, but I forgot to take care of someone: myself.

From relationships I didn’t want to be in. Things I didn’t want to do. People I didn’t want to meet. Discussions I didn’t want to have. Bullshit I couldn’t take anymore.

I always thought I owed people an explanation, a reason.

A reason to leave. 

A reason to stay.

An explanation for saying no.

An explanation for not meeting people’s expectations of me. 

Well I didn’t. 

I learned to say no. I learned to delay, to dismiss, to ignore. 

In saying no, I learned to be selfish. Selfish with my time. Selfish with my vulnerability. Selfish with my energy.

My No’s became acts of self-care, acts of self-assertion. Through the process, I have also learned to value and respect people’s spaces and boundaries. 

You do not owe anything to anyone, except yourself.  

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  • Aurore Iradukunda

    Aurore Iradukunda


    A student in Molecular Cell Biology and African Studies at McGill University, Aurore was born in Rwanda, the land of a thousand hills. For her, SAYASPORA means giving space to voices that are too often inaudible. It's about recognizing the power of femininity and seeing it manifest in grandeur.

Want to write for Sayaspora? We’re always looking for new talent!

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