Mouse in the Chest

mouse in the chest by chloe lamMouse in the chest is an idiom from the Philippines.  A person’s ‘mouse in the chest’ is a thing they fear.  Chloe Lam, one of the talented students at the school where I taught in Hong Kong, did this clever visual representation of the Filipino idiom for an Advanced Placement art show. 

When I taught high school I often studied a poem with my English students called Fear by American poet Raymond Carver.  In his catalog verse Carver lists many of his own ‘mice in the chest’ including…………

Fear of a police car pulling into the driveway

Fear of telephones that ring in the dead of the night

Fear that what I love will prove lethal to those I love

Fear of my children’s handwriting on envelopes 

Fear of having too much – although  people will not believe this

While preparing to give a tour of Salvador Dali’s work at the Winnipeg Art Gallery I learned the famous Spanish artist had a ‘mouse in the chest’ for ants.  He confronted his fear of the insects by putting them in his paintings and having an anteater for a pet. 

Other famous people report interesting ‘mice in the chest’ as well. Nicole Kidman is a lepidopterophobe. She’s afraid of butterflies. 

Walt Disney was afraid of mice. 

Matthew McConaughey is scared of revolving doors.

snow covered sidwalkOne of my ‘mice in the chest’ is that I am scared every single time I take the first step onto an escalator and these days because I walk everywhere I’m absolutely petrified of slipping and falling on the icy Winnipeg sidewalks. 

What’s your ‘mouse in the chest?’

Other posts………..

I Never Got Used to the Guns

Salvador Dali- I’m Scared

Between Dog and Wolf

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