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