What does "Nurse's Office" by Melanie Martinez mean?
“Nurse’s Office” Lyrics Meaning
K-12 is a concept album written from the perspective of the character Cry Baby as she endures the horrors of her nightmarish sleep-away school. The fictional school is a dangerous environment where those in authority are either apathetic towards the conflicts and struggles of the students or are part of the problem. There is also a movie of the same name that serves as a companion to the album.
“I faked up a seizure and left outta there”
In “Nurse’s Office,” Cry Baby is being so poorly treated and abused by her classmates that she resorts to faking illness, even a seizure, to get away from them. The lyrics use dark imagery in the same way the song uses samples of coughing and crying. They both convey a suffocating and exhausting environment.
Don't cut me, punch me, just let me go
Into the nurse’s office where I float away
I'm pale as the loose-leaf paper they grow
From hollowing out all my lungs in the snow
Cry Baby is being abused and bullied by the other students at her sleep-away school. She tells them to stop “cut[ting]” her and “punch[ing]” her. Rather than endure the abuse any longer, she wants to go “into the nurse’s office where [she] float[s] away” from her tormentors. She either makes herself truly ill or fakes illness in order to be excused. She is as “pale as the loose-leaf paper,” from trees, grown from the carbon dioxide she coughs up.
Yeah, I'm coughing
I’m bleeding, Band-Aids won't heal it
Cause they hate me, so I'm fakin'
All, all, all this so they take, take me
Though she is now “coughing” and “bleeding,” none of the nurse’s treatment can solve her true pain: the hatred and rejection at the hands of her peers. She is only “fakin’ all this so they take [her]” away from those who are mistreating her.
Take me home
Give me that pink slip of permission
This is old
I'm tired of wishing I was ditching
She wants to go home, not to the nurse’s office. It’s only because going home isn’t an option that she feels forced to use it as a safe haven. This abuse and escape is “old” for her and she’s “tired of wishing [she] was ditching.” The “pink slip” she desires is a note from a teacher that allows her to leave class.
Teacher, can I sit right there?
This b**ch behind me is cutting my hair
"No, just sit your **s down at the chalkboard and stare"
I faked up a seizure and left outta there
Before resorting to feigning illness, Cry Baby asks her teacher if she can move seats to get away from a girl who “is cutting [her] hair” in the middle of class. The teacher responds coldly and tells her to ignore the bullying. Overwhelmed, she manages to fake a seizure and gets permission to leave class in this fictitious, nightmarish school
Deeper Meaning of “Nurse’s Office” by Melanie Martinez
“Nurse’s Office” is a heartbreaking song. The amount of pain and bullying that might cause someone to fake being seriously ill is staggering. If you, or anyone you know is being bullied, there are people who care and who can help. Though the teacher in “Nurse’s Office” is apathetic, most teachers will be understanding and helpful. If they aren’t, go to others who can help. Friends in the class, other teachers, and especially parents. You are valuable and you never deserve to be mistreated. You should never be abused the way Melanie Martinez’s character is, or feel that faking sickness is your only escape. It’s my hope that none of you experience bullying of any kind, but if you do, please know that you don’t deserve it. You are worth standing up for, no matter what you’re told. You are worthy of love, no matter how you’re treated. You are loved and infinitely important, no matter how you feel or what anyone thinks of you. I hope there are people telling you that all the time, but if there aren’t, it’s still just as true.
Shout out: A big thank you to Keila Giles for bringing her Melanie Martinez knowledge to the table and helping me with the analysis before I wrote this post. You’re awesome!