About me

Today is the day I choose to take a stand for myself. *laughing* That almost sounds as though I am spineless and that I lay down and become a doormat whenever anything comes against me. That's not entirely true. But, it's not entirely untrue either.

My name is Ceci. I was born some 30+ years ago to a single mom. My dad chose, and has chosen again and again, not to be a part of our lives. Obviously, I am an only child. I like to joke that I was so perfect that they didn't want to mess things up by having another kid. That is totally untrue. But sometimes, I find humor helps me cope with pain, not by changing the reality, but by opening the door to different possibilities--things that could have been.

Some of you may have arrived here, at my little blog, because of my appearance with my mother on a show called "Hoarders". That is a part of my story. But it is not my whole story. And in fact, only recently have I realized that the clean up of my mother's hoard was not the neat and tidy end of the story, but really only the beginning of MY story.


My mom has been a hoarder since before I was born. For those of you reading this who might not know what hoarding is, let me try to explain it. Compulsive hoarding is an obsessive/compulsive disorder marked physically by the compulsion to acquire AND the inability to sort or get rid of items even when these collections become amassed to a point where they cause unsafe conditions in the home. The "invisible" part of the disorder is the high many hoarders experience upon finding a treasure and the anxiety they face when dealing with the treasure at a later time. Many hoarders have perfectionist complexes. If it can't be done perfectly, it shouldn't be done. If there isn't time to deal with everything, then they can't deal with anything.

Compulsive hoarding is a mental illness, like bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia, or even depression. Although it is easy to see the problem (too much stuff), the underlying causes of the disorder are much less easy to identify. For almost all of those affected, there is emotional trauma in the past that they were unable to deal with--the loss/death of a loved one, abuse, rape, or another traumatic event.

I don't know what the exact circumstances are that led my mother to begin hoarding things. That started before I was a part of this world. But I know that there were events during my life that I could "see" that seemed to further trigger the magnitude of my mother's hoarding.

But this is not about my mother and her hoarding. This is about me recognizing destructive patterns and thought processes within myself and choosing to live a better way instead.

My mother's hoarding and mental illness caused me much grief for many, many years. I would be lying if I said it doesn't still bother me and upset me. But the stronger feeling I experience today is hope and love. And for me, these two things can only exist together. Without hope for something better, I could not find it within me to love anyone. I have had enough experiences that left me cold, hurt, and alone to keep me from choosing to love anyone. One of my favorite quotes is from C.S. Lewis:

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless--it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”

Choosing to love is vulnerability, and for this girl, it's hard to do sometimes. It's extremely difficult to let people or things into my life knowing that by allowing them to be there that they CAN and MAY hurt me. But as Lewis so eloquently points out, when we close off our hearts and minds from allowing love to exist, we cease to be. What makes us different from the rest of creation is that as humans, we have choices and the ability to feel emotion.

And those same unique qualities are the things that bring us the most grief.

Unless we practice love, grace, forgiveness, and believe above all in the hope that it can be better.


Please do not misunderstand me. I am far from having arrived. I don't write here because I have all the answers. But I write because I know someone who does, and I know that when I allow myself to be painfully real and open, He will continue to do a good work in me. And maybe, just maybe, He will make me an instrument of His hope and blessing.

I am imperfect. I make mistakes (lots of them, in fact!), and I often have hurt feelings just as I hurt others' feelings. But I am beautiful and strong. I have a value far higher than I can grasp. And I know that you are these things too! And it's okay.

Although I am not who I used to be, I am also not yet all that I am supposed to be. But that's okay. I am enough today for what today holds. You are too!


Unknown said…
You are right. As long as we find our worth at the foot of the cross rather than the opinion of this world, we will always be enough. The Refiners fire is what perfects us, heals us and creates in us the possibilities that lie ahead for us. I am proud of you. And I LOVE you :0)
Cheri said…
Hi Ceci!

So glad you are sharing your journey with us. I can't wait to see where the Lord will lead you.

I wonder if you've ever read the book Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge? I love it. Sounds like it could help you with rediscovering just how much God loves you. You should read it if you haven't already.

Praying for you. :0) -Cheri
Ashley said…
Dear Ceci, I saw the show about your mom on Comcast On Demand a couple of weeks ago. When I saw you and heard your name, I thought, hey, she looks familiar! I whipped out my high school yearbook and there you were! We graduated the same year!

I was moved by the show, and am moved by your writing here. I appeciate how candid you are and am particularly encouraged by your prayer in this post. I am a part of Celebrate Recovery and am in the process of giving over my hurts, habits and hang ups to the Lord. I want to be free!!!!!!

Please know that I will be praying for your continued emotional healing and also that you would keep on delighting yourself in the Lord!!!! Take good care!!! Ashley (Bethel) Philemon.

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