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Charlene's song titled "I've never been to me" goes, in part, like,

Ooh I've been to Georgia and California, oh, anywhere I could run Took the hand of a preacher man and we made love in the sun But I ran out of places and friendly faces because I had to be free I've been to paradise, but I've never been to me

What does "I've never been to me" mean and is this a common expression?

  • If you put me in capital letters, you get ME, which happens to be the postal code for the state of Maine. The singer mentions that she has visited Georgia and California, but she doesn't say anything about having visited Maine. It may also be relevant that, for much of the year, Maine is quite cold, which is not conducive to attempts to "make love in the sun"; this might help explain why she never went there. – Sven Yargs May 17 at 5:47
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In the context of the full set of lyrics it seems to me understandable, although maybe not immediately. However we have a Wikipedia article explaining the meaning of the song. The song:

...is addressed to a desperate wife and mother who would like to trade her prosaic existence for the jet setting lifestyle the song's narrator has led. The narrator alludes to various hedonistic episodes in her life, concluding that while she's "been to paradise," she's ultimately failed to find self-fulfillment expressing this with the line, "I've never been to me."
I've Never Been to Me: Content

The "paradise" that is meant in the song is the supposed glamorous and dissipated lifestyle many ordinary people aspire to, ie., hanging out with important people, travelling to exotic places, etc.:

Oh I've been to Nice and the isle of Greece
While I sipped champagne on a yacht ...
but I've never been to me.

This question probably belongs on another SE site. Are song lyrics literature?

is this a common expression?

No, it very much isn't. It makes no sense semantically to me, well other than metaphorically maybe, as used in this song. I understand what "I went to him" means, but I don't understand what "I went to me" means in a literal sense.

  • 2
    'Isle of Greece' singular? what happened to the other 5999? :D – Spagirl Oct 29 '18 at 11:06
  • @Spagirl Haha. I was thinking the exact same thing as the words were running in my mind. I thought surely the lyrics must be isles of Greece. I assumed it was an error from my source, LyricFind, but those are the actual lyrics, strange enough. Here's a video of the song and the lyrics. youtube.com/watch?v=CM-okx_yE2Q I don't know what happened to the other 5999 isles. – Zebrafish Oct 29 '18 at 11:21

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