Thoughts on home and partnership. Ojai

Our dad would always say to people something to the effect of they fight like they will kill each other but if you go after one of them they will both turn on you.  We are two years apart and those two years have been just few enough to spur some serious rivalry.  It can be brutal and emotional and painful. We have fought so hard and she has pushed me to such a point of frustration that I want to rip out my hair or her hair or scream so loud the walls shake.  But what keeps us connected is the fiercest, hardest love for each other.  We, Dominoe and I, love each other very hard.

So obviously we would buy a house together in Ojai.  I have had millions of moments over the past two years where I have asked myself why the hell I did this with her.  I'm sure she'd say the same thing.  But we did.  We bought this house, with its enclosed porch and sloping yard and heritage oak trees and cheaply installed plumbing.  She trusted me when I said I had a vision for an orange and yellow house with terrible tile floors even though she couldn't yet see it.  She followed me down the rabbit hole and became my partner, officially, on paper.

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I went full tilt control monster during the renovation, ignoring the pain of the passing of our dad and driving towards the brink of exhaustion .  I worked with our contractor to redesign the egress and paint the interiors and place all the furniture we had inherited into our new home.  I cried a lot.  I felt completely alone.  In hindsight, I hadn't create any space for her.  Not in the house, not for her things and not in the process.  

We were playing out our tried and true patterns.  With every step forward I resented her and boxed her out and never gave her the opportunity to show up.  I controlled the whole thing.  As  I created this beautiful, thoughtful and celebratory space, our relationship began to erode. She pushed back and tried to elbow her way in and it got to a point where we could barely carry on a conversation.  But somehow the house started to become our conversation, a bridge that we couldn't see until a trip to Peru together broke down our walls.

After plant medicine journeys and a lot of yelling and tears and hugging and laughing we began to create mindfulness and have long conversations about tone and respect.  We heard each other for maybe the first time in our lives.  This experience saved our relationship.  We began to participate in the conversation of our house.  I made her a little room and she wiggled in and we would move through the rooms together editing in her beloved things and adjusting to suit us both.  

The house continues to evolve and it continues to be a catalyst for our growth.  When shit goes wrong it's another opportunity to see our patterns and act really badly but forgive and move forward.  The house flooded this week and it was emotional and exhausting for me and she wasn't able to come and I definitely yelled and cried and she cried and we figured out how to talk through it.  I told her what I need and she did the same.  The house told us it needed us both.  Her with her green thumb and whimsy and me with my sensitivity and knowledge.  We are supporting each other and carrying the burden of restoration.

Both of my homes have taught me a lot.  A lot a lot.  About myself and how to be a partner.  I have learned how to forgive myself and my sister.  I am learning to accept help and support.  I have learned to look at my homes as mirrors and adjust and evolve so I can live a happier, fuller life.  This whole journey we are on can be really gnarly but all of this has taught me that I need help and I have partners and that's totally cool.

xo SF

To learn more about our place and book a stay visit The Oh, Hi House.

Thoughts on home and partnership. Los Angeles

This past week has been an intense one.  Intensely difficult and yet wonderfully transformative.  My love, Nick and I have been creating a home together over the last month and this week everything slipped into place.  Meanwhile there was a flood at the house in Ojai I own with my sister Dominoe.  My  relationship with Dominoe has, at times, been really difficult and emotional.  Dealing with this mess triggered a lot of our old patterns and old hurt but forced  conversations about partnership and ownership and what our home means to us both.  

In light of all of this I have been thinking a lot about my relationship to these spaces and my partners.  

First up, the LA apartment has been a chameleon space for me over the last four years.  It has become the most interesting spacial mirror for my life.  I have broken down, broken through, rediscovered, grieved, surrendered, celebrated and embraced myself and so many thoughts, feelings, ideas and people in this space.  I worked through my relationship with my mom after she died here.  I fell in love with my soulmate here.  I have redecorated, experimented, torn apart and redesigned this place more times than I can count on my hands.  

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December 2014

May 2017

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May 2015

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July 2017

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November 2016

November 2016

November 2017

November 2017

In contrast, the previous place I shared with my ex was entirely about control and conformity.  We didn't quite fit together.  Our place wasn't quite right.  My work wasn't exactly coming together.  I ignored all little intuitive feelings and pushed forward with the life I was creating and the home that was decorated accordingly.  It was handled, perfectly perfect and totally fraudulent.  

Everything eventually fell apart and I found myself on my own again in this little apartment with original hardwood floors and bright sunlight.  With the smoke and mirrors gone, I had to take a look at myself.  Its a period in my life that included the death of my mom and then my dad and the mourning of that life that I had struggled to build, but also the blossoming of this more connected, organic, intuitive and loving everything.  Me, friends, work, life and home evolved.  Slowly I began to listen.  My space told me what it wanted and how to take care of it in the same way my body did and my relationships did and my heart did.  I stopped forcing my will upon my space and instead engaged in a deeper conversation.  I moved things, lived with it for a moment and then moved them again.  This would be the beginning of a much larger conversation I engage within my work.  

June 2014

June 2014

August 2016

August 2016

October 2014

October 2014

February 2017

February 2017

September 2015

September 2015

November 2017

November 2017

The past few months have been so much about learning to live with another person.  In my life partnership has been difficult.  It has been hard for my to let go of control and fear and to surrender.  This apartment and I have had a very intimate thing going.  Creating space for Nick has been a process of letting go and letting in.  To let in him and our dog and love and compromise.  To let go of things I have inherited from a former life and my need to control and my fear.  As I have struggled towards surrender, our home has organically evolved to feel like the safest, coziest and most considered lovely home of my dreams.  

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As this home has come together the other one has been busted open and my relationship with my sister, well that has been too.  I will be posting that story soon.

xo SF