13 Emotional Stages Of Surviving A Trip To IKEA, If You Manage To Get Out With Any Emotions Left, That Is

Ad failed to load

In my lifetime I have, on separate occasions, narrowly avoided getting hit by a school bus, mowed down by a train, and shoved off of I-81 by someone driving an 18-wheeler who didn't check his mirrors. What I mean to say is that I have defied death several times, and lived to tell the tale. But never have I genuinely had my life flash before my eyes quite like it did when I braved the Brooklyn IKEA last weekend. They make jokes about how you'll "never leave," but they're not jokes, guys—I genuinely got so lost that I sat in the middle of the pillow section for a good twenty minutes weighing my options and accepting that I was going to die there, with the steely resolve of the musicians going down with the Titanic.

If you think I am being dramatic then obviously you have never been to IKEA on a Sunday. I saw, heard, and live-tweeted things that I have never witnessed the likes of before. You want to know the true state of the American family? Come to IKEA and watch them argue over an EKTORP. To steal a direct quote from a couple I saw arguing: "People are dying, people are DYING, and you are bullying me to buy this couch?" There is no middle ground in IKEA, you see. There is only black and white; life and death; SVELVIKs and FJELLs.

Don't kid yourself into thinking you can avoid it, because you can't. At some point in your adult life, IKEA will happen to you, and when it does, you need to prepare for all of this to happen:

Ad failed to load

Willful ignorance

You think I wasn't warned? You think I haven't watched the episode where an IKEA-bound Liz Lemon nearly rips out James Marsden's throat in 30 Rock? Oh, I knew what was in store for me, but I was determined not to listen. I deserved every bit of what was coming to me and then some.

Ad failed to load

The kind of misguided confidence that IKEA probably feeds on to keep the dragon sleeping underneath it alive

It takes two subway trains and a shuttle bus to even get inside the Brooklyn IKEA, so by the time I got there, I was feeling pretty smuh-huh-hug, with multiple syllables for emphasis. I had a list of what I wanted, I didn't come with a significant other to squabble with, and I wasn't responsible for another human life like the brave parents armed with strollers and giant sheets of Ritz crackers. This was going to be a breeze.

Ad failed to load

The kind of awe you haven't felt since you were a baby

I'm pretty sure IKEA is so large that each store is basically its own nation-state. Do our government laws even apply when you basically have created your own furniture island? You step into the store and you think you have an idea of how big it is, but you're wrong. And even when you're not wrong, you're still wrong. It just keeps expanding into more things to stare at and buy.

Ad failed to load

Vague amusement

Walking through the showrooms and writing down all the numbers and aisles of things I needed was about the time I started eavesdropping on other families falling apart at the seams (and then live-tweeted it, just in case I hadn't already established that I am a terrible person). Parents were threatening to take away Disney trips from their kids; couples were fighting everywhere; there was one middle-aged man I passed multiple times saying he was "just trying to leave". But of course, I wasn't suffering yet, so this was all very hilarious to me.

Ad failed to load

The sudden attention span of a 5-year-old

Showrooms are dangerous places for spendthrifts. The only reason I am a good budgeter is because I literally just don't let myself go into stores, because I have less than no self-control once I do. So once I was inside IKEA, I'd already passed the threshold of common sense. I think I sat in approximately seventeen chairs before deciding on one that was fifty dollars more expensive than my original plan (but I am sitting in it right now, and it is so comfy that I will defend this life choice until the end of the universe). I also felt it necessary to turn off and on every light switch to lamps I had no intention of buying, lie down on half the mattresses, and even fake type at a desk to test out the size. Pretty sure I was thirty seconds of air-typing away from getting security called on my ass, TBH.

Ad failed to load

Disturbance in the time-space continuum

This is the point in the day when you look at your watch ... and realize three hours have passed. Wait, what?

Ad failed to load

The first few flickers of fear

It only took me like ten minutes to actually find the downstairs part where all the furniture is, and I figured I was golden after that, right?...Right?

Ad failed to load

Wrong. I was about to unveil another depth to humanity far deeper and darker than anything I'd seen in the showroom. The first people I passed was a mother with her two fully-grown sons, all three of them nearly in tears as the mom said, "I've been following all the exit signs but there IS NO EXIT!"

I picked up a cart and tried my best to un-hear her.

Total and complete inadequacy

Ad failed to load

Nothing will beat your self-esteem down faster than trying to navigate the basement of IKEA. In a full "Circle Of Life" moment, I became that crying mom I saw within twenty minutes of circling the place in total confusion. I could not for the life of me find where the giant furniture was. IKEA didn't want me to.


Ad failed to load

I read a headline the other day saying that IKEA wants its customers to stop playing hide and seek in their stores. IKEA, nobody is playing. I am insulted that they would say this to anyone after trapping us in their matrix. I am not even exaggerating when I say that, in the store I went to, the exit signs led you in a literal spiral around the home decor section. I started passing the same groups of confused people several times over. I started mumbling to myself, even talking out loud, and by then we were all deranged that nobody even spared me a second glance.

Hanger unlike any you've ever known

Ad failed to load

At this point, I couldn't have found the IKEA food court if I had wanted to. Here I was, an hour spent in their basement, with nothing in my hands or in my stomach. I found half of a Nutri-Grain bar in my purse that I suspect had been in there for months and scarfed it before any of the other customers drop-kicked my human form for it. People have found human remains in IKEA, guys. THE FEAR WAS REAL.

The Ultimate Hulk-Out

Ad failed to load

I finally found the furniture aisle, at which point I singlehandedly commandeered two giant flatbed wheelie things (the technical term). I was aware that I looked like a complete moron, but I was living outside of my own body by then. I moved an entire freaking sofa box with my bare hands onto a cart, and I know that sounds unimpressive, but that's because you weren't there. It was HUGE and almost fell on me multiple times. And while it was happening, I spotted a couple heavily making out and petting each other, basically totally willing to let me die five feet away while they did it.

The last gasp of your humanity

Ad failed to load

You know shit has hit the fan when you are two seconds away from joining another family at IKEA just so someone can be in charge of you again. Like, I really needed someone to be my parent at a certain point. When that became an inviable option, I considered just standing in the aisles whining "I want my moooooooooommmmyyyyyyy" like the fully shattered adult I had become. Somehow I made it with both of my gigantic carts over to the checkout aisle. Don't ask me how. I'm pretty sure I blacked out.

Eating all of your emotions in the food court

Ad failed to load

I didn't just eat at the food court. I grocery shopped at the food court. I have two IKEA cakes, IKEA juice boxes, and an IKEA crepe mix in my kitchen right now. I don't have the giant chocolate bar anymore, though, because I stress ate the entire thing on the ten-minute shuttle ride back to the subway. Which brings us to our final stage...

Shaky-kneed, disbelieving relief

Ad failed to load

I don't think I had a single coherent thought on that train ride home. I only know that the further from IKEA I got, the more human I started to feel again.

But I'll be ready next time, IKEA. And next time, I'm coming with three days worth of snacks, a compass, and several people's parents.

Images: Getty Image; Giphy (13)

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

I Wore 'Dad Shoes' For A Week & They Were SO Much Cooler Than I Thought They’d Be

It’s no secret that fashion loves a good polarizing trend. Not too long ago, Birkenstocks made their high fashion runway appearance at Céline and Crocs followed suit on the runways of Christopher Kane and Balenciaga. Now, it’s time for the "ugly" sne…
By Dale Arden Chong

7 Surprising Things That Happened When I Went A Month Without Drinking

If someone asked you if you could take a break from drinking alcohol, would you be able to do it? You may think it’s no big deal to take a month off from drinking, or you may think it’s a *huge* deal, as alcohol seems to be the center of many social …
By Natalia Lusinski

5 Books Under 300 Pages That Are Perfect For St. Patrick's Day Weekend Reading

The grocery stores are stocked with corned beef and cabbage, the local pubs are starting to advertise a particular shade of beer, and in city streets all across America, signs about parade routes have been posted for everyone to see, so you know what…
By Sadie Trombetta

8 Ways Younger Millennials Communicate That Older Millennials Don’t Get

When comparing the ways our parents grew up communicating and the way we all grew up communicating, it seems like their generation and ours grew up in a different world. The technology our parents grew up with was so basic, it's ancient in comparison…
By Kaitlyn Wylde

This Is The ONE Sign That Won’t Be Affected By Mercury Retrograde This Month

It really doesn't seem fair that one astrological sign can ever enjoy the benefit of escaping the wrath of Mercury retrograde — that is, of course, unless that sign is your own — but it happens. Occasionally, the stars just align in the right way for…
By Kaitlyn Wylde

Why My Boyfriend & I Started Couples Counseling 6 Months Into Our Relationship

Right away, Kurt and I agreed on almost everything. We had met through a mutual friend in 2015, but we didn't start dating until we came across each other on Bumble a few years later. That's when we discovered that we were on the same page when it ca…
By Rachel Simon

This Lace-Front Wig Is Going Viral Because No One Believes It's Actually A Wig

To understand how Zendaya easily goes from a pixie cut to voluminous curls or how the Kardashian-Jenners switch hair colors as frequently as they change clothes is to know the power of a good wig. Now that there's a lace-front wig going viral, the Tw…
By Summer Arlexis

This Primer & Mascara Combo Literally Doubles The Length Of My Eyelashes

Even as someone who loves beauty, I was never been particularly passionate about finding the perfect mascara. And then I got lash extensions for the first time. While I enjoy the long, full lashes that lash extensions provide, I always found myself j…
By Olivia Muenter

I Accidentally Fell In Love With My Friend With Benefits & It's Painful

Against my better judgment, I have fallen in love with my friend with benefits. I think I may have fallen in love with him month ago, but being stubborn AF, I fought against those feelings, tooth and nail, and, when it was suggested by a couple close…
By Amanda Chatel

This Viral Post About A Woman Breastfeeding In Public Actually Has A Happy Ending For Once

And today in things that will warm even the coldest of hearts, we have this: A story recently posted to the r/TwoXChromosome subreddit about a dad’s response to his daughter shaming a breastfeeding parent is everything. Posted by Redditor u/starsonwi…
By Lucia Peters

These March Beauty Launches Require Your Immediate Attention

I write one of these beauty editorials every month (feel free to check out January and February 2018 if you're in need of even more products to shower yourself with). Sometimes, I get worried that there won't be enough newness to share — especially b…
By Amanda Richards

Here's How You’re Most Likely To Get Your Heart Broken, Based On Your Zodiac Sign

Getting your heart broken can be one of the most painful experiences you can have in your life. But if you're into astrology, being familiar with your zodiac sign can be pretty helpful. For instance, when you know the ways you're likely to get your h…
By Kristine Fellizar

Finger Piercings Are Trending & The Internet Is Very Divided About Them

A new "accessories" trend is asserting itself on Instagram and it's subversive, non-traditional, and so darn precious. It also looks a tad painful but the end result is worth it. Dermal diamond finger piercings are a thing and they may make actual ri…
By Amy Sciarretto

How I Learned Losing Your Job Isn't The End Of The World

Two and a half years ago, I was taking a day off from my marketing job at a San Francisco tech startup to host a friend when I got a call from the CEO. Apparently, I'd missed a pretty big day: 80 percent of the company, including the whole sales and …
By Suzannah Weiss

Meghan Markle's First Appearance With The Queen Included An Homage To Princess Diana

Fashion pundits love keeping a close eye on what the women of the monarchy are wearing, especially when there's an overlap with Princess Diana's sense of style. We're nothing but nostalgic when it comes to Princess Di and her on-point aesthetic. Find…
By Marlen Komar

Why Arizona's Exit From 'Grey's Anatomy' Is A Huge Blow To The LGBTQ Community

Whenever I re-watch Grey's Anatomy, I don't start with Derek Shepherd waking up in Meredith's apartment after their first hookup. I start with Season 5, when Callie first meets Arizona in a bar. I start here, because I want to watch someone like me f…
By Martha Sorren

I Couldn't Find A Beauty Campaign With Plus Size Models, So I Made One Myself

In the fall of 2015, I visited relatives in my hometown, a small suburb of New Jersey. There isn't much to do there, apart from dining at Applebee's or hitting the mall. As a plus size woman, cruising through a shopping mall is a mixed bag. Certain d…
By Marie Southard Ospina

7 Signs You're The Emotionally Unavailable One In Your Relationship — And How To Work On It

It can be a weird feeling when you realize your relationship isn't working. But it happens — even in a long-term relationship — that, despite spending months or years together, you can realize that something is just missing. Sometimes that thing that…
By Lea Rose Emery

The 21 New Books That Goodreads Users Are Most Excited About This Spring

Despite the fact the Northeast is being pummeled by yet another storm that threatens to trap the region in snow and ice for eternity, winter is finally almost over, and you know what that means. No, I'm not talking about April showers or May flowers …
By Sadie Trombetta

Chelsea Clinton Gets Real About Twitter Trolls & What REALLY Infuriates Her About Trump

Before you read the first word on the first page of Chelsea Clinton's new book, you already know one thing: Strong women have always been a big part of her life. There's her mother, Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was the first woman to run for president…
By Erin Delmore

If You’re Addicted To Rewatching ‘The Office,' There’s An Actual Reason For That

A few weeks ago, I tweeted that I was looking for fans of The Office who can't stop, won't stop rewatching the series, and that they should email me if they'd like to contribute to an article about their obsession. By the next morning, I had 32 messa…
By Lia Beck

Pregnant Chinese Women Have Been Eating Pearl Powder For Generations To Give Their Kids Clear Skin

If I were to line up next to my sisters, the difference is immediately noticeable: where my skin is a bit patchy and unmemorable, their skin radiates. Both of their faces have a discrete, poreless glow, and I’m certain you could bounce a kernel of ri…
By Angela Chen

This Is The Most Common Myers-Briggs Type

If you've ever really wanted to get to know yourself, you'll probably want to try out the Myers-Briggs type indicator test. You've probably seen a lot of articles online, and wondered about what the most common Myers-Briggs type is, as there's a lot …
By Kaitlyn Wylde

Halo Brows Take The Unibrow To New Heights — Literally

If there's one thing you can count on Instagram to deliver, it's some of the wackiest makeup trends, especially when it comes to brows. Considering beauty enthusiasts are all too eager to get creative with their arches, it's no wonder halo brows are …
By Summer Arlexis