My front yard has become weirdly important, ever since someone suggested it as a way to deal with fear. When fear is such a big part of you and your life, honor it; do the things you reasonably can to be more safe. Then after you've tried that, after you've given yourself that chance, choose the compromises you want, if you decide on the trade-off for more time and freedom.
As far as the outside of the house goes, the idea is "show no weakness"; don't look like a victim. Don't look like a target. It's become a very tiny, personal crusade. I find myself watching all the time--which houses seem like easy marks, like places where you could get away with it? Which ones don't? More tangibly, what are the details that make that difference? My goal is: just from looking, it will be clear that someone cares enough about the people in this house not to let things slide. Just from looking, it will be obvious that we who live here are well taken care of.
It's an enlightening study. Learning to do is hard, but so is learning to see, and suddenly there's the obvious connection that I've never made; to make things so clean and tidy and neat like that, to make a space that emanates strength, you have to be aware of your surroundings. You have to notice little details. It's a natural connection, so much more than just learning to bother--which is important enough on its own.
Somehow this is more important to me than everything else I should be working on. It's a slow building; half a step, stand back, consider--what can I do, with the tools I have? With the strength I have? How many more days will it take to finish weeding around the driveway? What other tools would be good for the job? Is there any way I might take that stump out by myself? Will it make a difference to sweep away that dirt, does that edge need to be straightened? Is there a solution to the weeds next to the house without buying pavers? My imagination is on walkabout; this will be a showplace, beautiful, clean, bountiful, precise, liveable. Just keep working every day, thousands of baby steps.
Stages and details of maintaining an everyday life are so new to me. What I'm probably best at, in fact, is keeping it nominally together after everything has gone to shit--and assuming that it's always going to be that way. I am scraping a different life from weeds and black clay, handful by handful.