In the morning
When you throw up water
And your skin turns a pale pale yellow
Well everyday you lose more color

Do you think that someone paints your mirror?
So you think that things sound different
At the time when you speak
Well there are visions much clearer than these blurs that you see

And like Neely O'Hara you swallow your sleep
And wake up in the morning
To find you are not who you used to be
You don't recognize the behavior

Or the spelling of your name and the shape that is in the mirror
Well you'd swear it is not the same
And like Neely O'Hara
You swallow your sleep and you really can't remember

But you know you are not
Think you are not
No you are not who you used to be

Lyrics submitted by PLANES

Neely O'Hara Lyrics as written by Oberst

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Neely O'Hara song meanings
Add Your Thoughts


sort form View by:
  • +3
    General Comment
    i think this song is about someone with depression and anxiety, more specifically with depersonalization disorder. at least, that's what it reminds me of. "So you think that things sound different At the time when you speak Well, there are visions much clearer than these blurs that you see" & "You don't recognize the behavior Or the spelling of your name and the shape that is in the mirror Well, you'd swear it is not the same" those are the same feelings i have when my depersonalization acts up.
    elizabishon September 05, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General Comment
    I think this song is just about someone who was an amazing person in the beginning, probably someone very close to Conor, who he basically had to watch ruin their life slowly. It's happened to me countless times. It's one of the most painful experiences in the world to watch a friend slowly fall apart and know there's nothing you can do about it, and I think that's what this song is about. Also- Neely O'Hara is a substance abusing character from the Valley Of the Dolls, that's how she fits in. To my knowledge this song is not about bullemia, and the throwing up water I think it's probably not supposed to literally mean throwing up so much as just every day "throwing up" more and more of yourself, perhaps your soul. And Neely who he thanks and has brought on stage is a friend named Neely Jenkins but I do not think she is in any way related to this song.
    RachiePieon June 20, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Comment
    I love it when Conor screams \"No you are not!\" at the end of the song, because he sounds like he\'s arguing, with someone or himself, over whether or not they are the same person that they used to be. It really drives home the messages of losing someone (or yourself) as they fade away.
    in_lieu_of_loveon April 22, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment
    this song's clearly relative to the character in valley of the dolls, otherwise the names wouldn't be identical. but ultimately it's about an eating disorder. the reference to throwing up could be a variety of things, but generally after a person has been inducing vomiting for a while they're skin turns the yellow color conor describes. "do you think that someone paints your mirror?" inforces the distorted view of an eating disordered person, and "the blurs that you see" are an effect of malnutrition. the sudden discovery of not being who you used to be is what typically happens when someone is so caught up in maintaining their illness that they don't seem to notice their gradual weight loss, and they feel as if it happened overnight. that might be why conor adds the bit about swallowing sleep. the unrecognizable behavior is the odd ways eating disordered people live, the way they divide their food, the way they chew every piece of food in no more or less of a certain amount of bites (of course, each behavior is specific to the individual). the first time i heard this song i understood the swallowing of sleep as not sleeping at all, as if to say that it is all you swallow. when people are malnourished they become shockingly manic and tend to get very little sleep. just my input.
    caffeinationon May 28, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment
    Im bulimic, i also starve until my rib cage starts to show, and my collar bones pop out. Anyways, this song makes me cry so much. It makes me feel that some people actualy care.This song is just so conforting. I hope someone paints my mirror. Yet then again if i die from something either starving or puking..then maybe my family will actualy care. And then sometimes, when i hear songs like this, it makes me feel like the people who sing these songs care, and thats all we need, is for someone to care, and someone to love us.
    Abrokenbeautyy92on June 20, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    Neely O'Hara is a character in the book Valley Of Dolls. I don't know what this has to do with the meaning of the song, but she is.
    ShiverForMeon July 26, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    Make that Valley of the Dolls. Sorry.
    ShiverForMeon August 19, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    they played this song live in boston. it was excellent. i never had a real appreciation for it until i saw it live..but its wonderful.
    PLANESon September 22, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    Conor thanks Neely on some of his I wonder if it is a real person.
    popnoiron September 23, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    neely jenkins is a real person. his friend. that's who he thanks.
    dancesfantasticon March 07, 2003   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

More Featured Meanings

Album art
The Last Dance
Within Temptation
@[Kahiara:35260] Actually I think the husband passed away, "She sang for you last night She heard you were calling" Many people say they have felt, heard, or seen their loved ones after they have passed. "Don't be scared now Close your eyes She holds guard tonight Go on forward no remorse Life will take it's course" This is said to the late husband by a third part (never named), who encourages him to pass on. Because life will eventually continue. The phrase "holds guard" refers to the ( ) which is a Christian ceremony held after someone dies. Now it is usually held right after the funeral, but in most celtiic countries the wake is held before the funeral. "She danced with you last night so you will remember All you have shared, a lifetime." This sentence feels as if the only thing it wants to convey is their history together, namely, husband and wife. For the rest it just refers back to the first verse.
Album art
Taylor Swift
I believe this is another amazingly on point and nuanced commentary on the insanity that follows emotionally abusive relationships. The abuser has no anxieties, no emotional pain, or salience/memory for that matter, so the survivor appears to be the crazy one, obsessed with the abuse and that buzzword that seems to ignite arguments about diagnosing people without a degree, etc. funny how you say the words domestic violence, abuse, abuse survivor and boom the subject changes. Anyways, I especially relate to her midnights becoming afternoons, complex PTSD often leads to this phenomenon, whether due to purposeful sleep deprivation by the abuser, or just hyper vigilance associated with the PTSD, along with the fear of facing people, especially your loved ones, who Never actually understand, even if they try, because all they see is you, on fire, screaming about the arsonist that no one ever sees, and who has been spreading lies about your alleged mental instability, deceptive personality, etc. the whole time. While the last thing survivors need is more blame, our society supports a narrative that blames the objectively innocent party because the blatantly guilty party has spent their entire lives fabricating a persona and we’re just being human, and human psychology is quite counterintuitive especially in the context of trauma. Look at Amber Heard. Vilified and not believed, regardless of what any abuse survivor could recognize as a fellow survivor instantly. But Johnny depp is a malignant narcissist, a man, and wealthy as all get out. It’s sick.
Album art
Mad Hatter
Avenged Sevenfold
Matt Shadows their lead singer says the song was written as per request from the developers of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. Watching the initial trailers for the game & looking at production sketches reminded him of the 'S-Town' podcast & its main protagonist, John B. McLemore. Matt also comments specifically on the lyrics: "I decided that the lyrics would shadow McLemore's life." In 2012, antiquarian horologist John B. McLemore sent an email to the staff of the show 'This American Life' asking them to investigate an alleged murder in his hometown of Woodstock, Alabama, a place McLemore claimed to despise. After a year of exchanging emails & several months of conversation with McLemore, producer Brian Reed traveled to Woodstock to investigate. Reed investigated the crime & eventually found that no such murder took place, though he struck up a friendship with the depressed but colorful character of McLemore. He recorded conversations with McLemore & other people in Woodstock. McLemore killed himself by drinking potassium cyanide on June 22, 2015 while the podcast was still in production. In the narrative of the podcast, this occurs at the end of the second episode; subsequent episodes deal with the fallout from McLemore's death while exploring more of McLemore's life & character.
Album art
This standalone single by Lauv marks the end of the year 2020. The track was produced by Jamil “Digi” Chammas & Lauv, being released via major streaming platforms on December 31, 2020.
Album art
This standout song was released to close out the year and was produced in its entirety by 80vii. The track was released via major streaming platforms on December 27, 2020.