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

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Neely O'Hara song meanings
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  • +3
    General Commenti 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 CommentI 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 CommentI 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 Commentthis 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 CommentIm 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 CommentNeely 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 CommentMake that Valley of the Dolls. Sorry.
    ShiverForMeon August 19, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthey 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 CommentConor thanks Neely on some of his I wonder if it is a real person.
    popnoiron September 23, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentneely jenkins is a real person. his friend.
    that's who he thanks.
    dancesfantasticon March 07, 2003   Link

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