In this interview with My Chemical Romance, we hear from Gerard Way what the album is really about in terms of the story the band is trying to tell. To paraphrase, Gerard says the album is about a man and a woman who died in a gunfight and the man goes to hell only to find out the woman is still alive. In order to return to her, he must collect 1000 souls from evil men and give them to the devil. So he does it and fights for her. In terms of this story, we can look at “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)” through a different lens. We can interpret the song from perhaps the man’s point of view and see this as his mantra while he fights to collect these souls in order to return to his love. Because the man in theory is fighting to get her back because he needs her. He is not complete without her. Gerard continues by saying that this album is also about loss in real life.

Now looking at this version of the music video for “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)”, we get another lens. The setting for this music video is high school. We can assume some sort of private institution since they are all in uniforms. All of the band members throughout the music video are being bullied and taunted by their fellow students because they are different. In the opening Ray Toro, one of the guitarists, is speaking to Gerard Way, the lead singer, about all the different things Gerard Way’s character likes, dislikes, what he is good at, and what he is bad at. After he lists everything, he tells Gerard’s character that he is never going to make it in high school. His character responds by saying “I don’t wanna make it, I just wanna” and it cuts off but we can assume he is going to say he just wants to be okay. We can also assume that he means he just wants to be accepted by everyone instead of bullied and also wants to be okay mentally because bullying does take a toll on one’s mental health. Throughout the video, there are various adjectives describing how one can feel such as alone, rejected, confused, lost, etc. Then at the end, it says, “Be prepared to feel revenge”. This song and album are meant to be an anthem for people who have ever been mistreated or outcasted by others. My Chemical Romance is trying to show them through this video and this song that they are not alone and that we can fight those who have mistreated us together (metaphorically not literally fight).

Through both of these pieces of media, we can see My Chemical Romance is trying to have a positive effect on its viewers by offering them a safe space. The members of My Chemical Romance are trying to make a change for the better and show people who are “outcasts” or “misfits” that they are not alone. They are also showing that people who aren’t “okay” can still be successful and make positive changes in the world.