Mixed Media Artwork by Heather Nichols well known as Mysterious Others
Apophenia is the human tendency to perceive meaningful connections between unrelated things. Some call it synchronicity or superstition.
This phenomenon is very common and is, in fact, considered to be a normal part of the human experience. Except, when it becomes too dark and extreme. The dark side of apophenia is often linked to schizophrenia and can cause paralyzing fear and anxiety. I’ve been to this dark side. I lived, for months, in a surreal parallel reality of my own creation. Every synchronicity was telling me that the answer to life is death. I felt trapped in my own body. Tied down to the earth. I wanted to be free of the human experience. It all felt so meaningless and preposterous. Every song I listened to, every book I read, every “sign” told me that suicide was the way, the secret path that no one wants to admit is valid. It seemed so obvious, so clear. So I actively looked for opportunities to die.
Darkness was closing in on me but there was a single, beautiful and bright shining star that called to me. My little sister. My Summer Rose. Our parents had already abandoned us and I wasn’t going to abandon her too. I needed to be here for her. To protect and take care of her.
Slowly but surely I found my way back to equilibrium. I accepted the earth’s grounding force as an embrace instead of chains that bound me. I started to perceive my body as a temple that houses my soul. Instead of a cage. Apophenia became a rope I could use to pull myself out of the darkness. This all happened in 1997. I was 17 years old.
Over the years I’ve learned to utilize apophenia to help bring meaning into my life, and it’s become an essential part of my creative process. In 2014, I decided to focus on the Mysterious Others collection, which has been hugely therapeutic and has brought me more joy than any of my previous work. This show is a peek into the world of Mysterious Others and a glimpse at some of the signs, symbols, and synchronicities that came to the forefront of my perception during 2021/22 Winter/Spring transition.
Thank you for being here, for seeing me, and for co-creating our reality.