What does I'm not Okay (I Promise) mean?

My Chemical Romance: I'm not Okay (I Promise) Meaning

Album cover for I'm not Okay (I Promise) album cover

Song Released: 2004

I'm not Okay (I Promise) Lyrics

Well if you wanted honesty, that's all you had to say
I never want to let you down or have you go
It's better off this way
For all the dirty looks
The photographs your boyfriend took
Remember when you broke your foot
From jumping out the...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Nov 5th 2005 !⃝

    "When I was writing it, I was remembering how hard it was to be a 16-year-old in high school. I always wanted to be an artist, so I was this loner kid who just got drunk all the time. I only had one real friend. There was a girl I really liked, and she ended up taking really sleazy photographs with her boyfriend, and that really crushed me, I was just swimming in this pit of despair, jealousy and alcoholism." - Gerard Way

    I believe that says it all.


    #2 top rated interpretation:
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    Feb 24th 2011 !⃝

    For me, this song is about the intense pain of discovering that you don't know somebody who you thought you really liked. The bitter, heart-wrenching disappointment which is inevitably felt afterwards is conveyed perfectly. Also, its about the weariness which comes with constantly pretending that you're happy for the sake of other people, when, in truth, you just want to scream in frustration. It gives a voice to anyone who's ever felt different, cast out, or tired of the unjust conventions of life. Yes, many of these issues could arise in high school, but people may also suffer from such problems in later life. This is why anyone of any age could quite easily relate to this song.


    #3 top rated interpretation:
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    Nov 26th 2005 !⃝

    As everyone has said, this song is definitely about high school, hence why the video was recorded that way! This is not about an ex-girlfriend, it's about a girl he knew, a friend who is now popular and doesn't want to have anything to do with Gerard because he was a geek.

    "Remember when you broke your foot from jumping out the second floor" is a memory of when she jumped out of a building or something like that. "You sing the words but don't know what they mean to be a joke and look" is about him being teased and bullied because he was different. "For the last time take a good hard look" is him telling her that life isn't so happy after all, it has real problems and ups and downs and that she should get that into her head. "The photorgaphs your boy friend took" is about him saying, what the hell I thought you would never do that, I thought you would never do that! He is shocked! "I'm not okay! I'm ok now! But you need to listen to me, because I'm telling you the truth I mean this I'm okay, trust me. I'm not okay..." is just basic teenage hormones kicking in, he is ok one minute and the next everything has gone down the drain. "You wear me out" is him saying I'm tired of backing you up, while I get nothing except being made fun of.

    So as you can see, this is about teenage issues and hormones.

  4. anonymous
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    Apr 1st 2022 !⃝

    He was in love with a girl, she was in love with him, but she had a bf and her bf was controlling and she couldn’t break up with him, hence the lines,”for all the dirty looks, the photographs your bf took.” It’s a pretty good song

  5. anonymous
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    Feb 25th 2021 !⃝

    this song hits deep for me, and is the most relatable song from mcr for me. the way i interpreted the song was pretty dark. i think it’s about having depression or maybe even suicide. i have anxiety, not sure about depression but the lyrics give me those vibes. constantly lying to others that you’re okay when you’re really the slightest thing from okay. the lyric, “it’s better off this way” makes me think of what i was personally going through. feeling like leaving the world was the best option, i still feel that way sometimes. anyways, hopefully everyone gets what i’m trying to say :))

  6. anonymous
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    Jan 6th 2019 !⃝

    It's one thing what the band says the song is about, but what you feel and what you take out of the song can be on a complete different paper.

    For me (and that's also why the song helped me so much), it was about depression (for whatever reason) and the behavior one have to always say "I'm ok" like "yeah, everything's alright. I'm fine", and the self-betrayal which comes with it. For me it helped because after listening to the song again and again, it helped me to be ok with saying "No, I'm not ok, I am not feeling well." to other people like family and friends, without having the feeling to annoy them.
    I hope you know what I mean.

  7. anonymous
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    Dec 6th 2018 !⃝

    I think this song also has a lot to do with him possibly being depressed and trying to get someone to notice him. "It's better off this way" sounds a lot like him saying the world would be better off if he just ended it all. The bit where he says "I'm ok" is about him putting on this show as inside he needs help but is scared to get it and just lies and says he's ok. This is just my opinion but I've been there and that's why I tink this.

  8. anonymous
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    May 12th 2018 !⃝

    I personally believe that this song is about being kind of an outcast, ot being well... not okay. I feel like the first few lyrics "Well, if you wanted honesty that's all you had to say" have to do with the fact that when people ask "Are you okay," or something the person who (is obviously not okay) says yes, and the person asking probably said to be honest or something. Also, the lyrics "What will it take to show you that it's not the life it seems," probably mean that the person that Gerard is singing to or someone, isn't taking anyone seriously (and not being taken seriously honestly is one of the worst feelings ever.) That's all I can really give my opinion on, cuz my phone is on 6%, and I'm fucking tired. Bye. (Don't hate me if I got something wrong btw im innocent)

  9. anonymous
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    Jan 4th 2012 !⃝

    me being in high school i think its about all the crap that goes on and how somedays theres good days and most the time theres bad days

  10. anonymous
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    Nov 20th 2011 !⃝

    I think that this song is just a guy who is not okay after he broke up with his ex and hes trying to get okay but hes not okay I love My Chemical Romance:)

  11. anonymous
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    Nov 15th 2011 !⃝

    i just think that the music vid. is funny.... espesially when Frank is sitting next to the girl and he says "you have something in your eye" and you think that they were going to kiss, but then Frank picks something out of the girls eye. XD

  12. anonymous
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    Sep 26th 2011 !⃝

    Who cares wat this song means it rock!!!!!!!!!!!!!! jkjk I do agree its about his friend who was a girl and when he found out what she did it was just shocking and he was just not okay.

  13. anonymous
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    Jun 14th 2011 !⃝

    This song is about suicide.Gerard said it himself.Its a blatent & precise song about suicide. "Believe Me.Im Okay.Trust Me!" When a person tells everyone that their okay,but,theyre really not.And,for fucks sake,the chorus says it all.
    Its about suicide.Id know

  14. anonymous
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    Mar 12th 2011 !⃝

    it clearly mean cerard had a hard time liking someone and just turns out he happeneed to right about this girl in the song and included major thing about this so called girl and wrote.either way this song is amazing and does not need further explanation

  15. jasper403477865
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    Feb 20th 2009 !⃝

    It's about kids who get picked on and they're telling them to basically to F*ck off

  16. kaykracke
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    Nov 25th 2008 !⃝

    i think from an interview i remember from gerard that it wasnt about a girl he loved or anything it was about his friend who was a girl who he was pretty close with and she took dirty photos with her b.f. and gerard was really crushed by this.

  17. anonymous
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    Nov 13th 2008 !⃝

    jesus. reading all this is exausting.. but knowing more than i should i'd love to put out more REAL FACTS of the story- this chick "barbara" that apparently gerard "had a crush on" was devistated when she couldn't go with him (plus they both had significant others)- to make it easier on the both of them she had told him "it's alright, it's better off this way.. there's questionable photos of me out there. i could never do anything that could hurt you." she stayed with the guy she was seeing at the time (who was sleezy- but alas sleezy photos were a young girls attempt to make a situation semi better for the guy she fell hard for.) and he stayed with the chick he was seeing.
    she isn't ok, either- btw.

  18. justme
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    Nov 3rd 2008 !⃝

    I reckon that the song was that when he was in high school and college he put on a brave front and wanted people to see him normally and to see him to be (ok) however in his mind he was losing it because of the drugs and alcohol and this song is letting out what he was bottling up for so may years.

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