Happy August to all of you! I'm writing from London where after a couple of days of intermittent rain and cooler temperatures, we are back to blazing sunshine and the mercury hovering consistently at 30 degrees celsius. I've always been a lover of the heat and have for many years referred to the Sun as "my boyfriend, Mr. Sunshine", but I'm learning that I like everything in moderation much more as I've gotten older - even my boyfriend.
This brings me to the mantra for this month - Be Yourself. This is as much for me as it is for anyone reading this. I've spent all of July since launching the site reading the hundreds of messages from my personal Instagram account (you can find me @simakumar) and emails sent into sima says sharing what you'd like to see me post about and asking a lot of questions. With my work schedule and some unexpected personal events which I hadn't factored time in for, coupled with sifting through over 800 emails I took most of July to really think about what I want the lyst blog to be, while knowing I have the freedom to let it change and evolve as I change and evolve.
What I realised is I can only be myself. A lot of you are asking for style content and archival photos of former celebrity clients. I'm going to disappoint you now and say you won't be finding that kind of content here because it's no longer my work or my focus. When I delved deeper into what I wanted to showcase for style, it wasn't through the lens of a former celebrity stylist but rather as a former stylist and a woman on the verge of turning 48. There is so much content online for anyone looking to browse and explore brands and influencers. I don't want to be part of that overly saturated category. For me, the narrative is now deeply personal. What also excites me is I've received over 500 messages exclusively about my grey hair. And not all from women in their 40's and 50's. Many from women in their late 20's and 30's wanting to know how I went grey, sharing the pressure they feel to colour their hair, wanting to be free from this cycle of feeling enslaved to a standard of beauty that goes against the very nature of nature. We age, our hair colour changes, our bodies change, our personalities evolve, we are emotionally more experienced. So, the style section will be exclusively what I like and I'll tell you now, it won't be for everybody. Anyone who knows me, knows my love for easy breezy oversized dresses. I'm all about body positivity and you wear whatever floats your boat - but for me - I'm very into linen this summer. Comfort is essential and so is a sense of feeling feminine without it always having to be overtly sexual. I am beyond feeling the need to dress to impress a man or to be alluring. And to be honest, that has never been my why? for dressing the way I do. It's hardly going to become my why? now. It's more about living my life with a style and grace that makes me feel good, be able to move the way I want to move and honour my evolution. Even if you don't like the content I will be posting for style, you will be guaranteed to get something out of the process on how to be more confident in simply being more you instead of following trends at a whim and always in search of personal style.
August is also my birthday month. Under the western zodiac sign of Leo and ruled by the mighty Sun. Most people when they meet me and find out I'm a Leo always respond with "Oh! Of course! It's so obvious! Your hair gives it away!" or "You're so warm and friendly, of course you're a Leo!" Then they go on to spew a lot of the common traits of the typical Leo profile as being the life of the party, always the centre of attention, confident, self-centred, arrogant. The list goes on. I am inherently quite shy and can be reserved. Being outgoing is a trait I learned as a child to make friends when my family moved a lot. I was often the 'new girl' in class - being presented by my teacher, standing up in front of an established student body who had already chosen their desk mates, gym mates, recess mates, lunch mates and after school playdate mates. While it was always nerve-wracking having a group of children stare at me, sizing me up whether I was worthy of being chosen for any of the many groups and subgroups, I distinctly recall never being too concerned who would choose me or if I would be chosen at all. This made me both flexible and forced me to get to know myself so I could be me. Not what everyone wanted me to be. This image of a lion at the beach with a surfer perfectly sums up my summer vibe. The lion in me loves to spend time in the sunshine with sea spray in my face and taking naps in the shade at peak sun hours. And of course, much of my time is spent planning trips to the sea to surf. Living in London means I'm no longer surfing in California, Hawaii or the Pacific North West coast. Surf time is more Cornwall, Portugal and Spain. It's still the only place my mind comes to a standstill. It's a waking meditation for me. Where everything that makes up my physical self, integrates and I can celebrate being in this body to express this personality and enjoy these experiences in this lifetime. And no, this doesn't mean I've overcome my fear of having a gnarly encounter with a shark, but I always imagine any shark in the ocean (and believe me, they are there!) as the cartoon shark Jabberjaw, which according to Wikipedia only existed from September to December 1976, but obviously made a very strong impression on me. Jabberjaw was a jolly great white shark that was always struggling to get some respect. That's what I picture when my feet are dangling and my arms are paddling and my mind begins making up stories of how snackable I must look to a shark that sees me from below. Touch wood, conch shells, seaweed, sea foam, driftwood, sea urchins and whatever other sea floaters that may bring a splash of a good luck guardian my way - I've managed to be left alone for 28 years!
Interestingly enough in Vedic astrology, the sign of Leo is called Simha (nope, I'm not making it up!). I bring up astrology because it's a common way we bucket people into categories. My lioness ways of appearing and moving may convey a strength and confidence, yet I'm also very introverted, have a bucket full of insecurities and am deeply emotional. As someone who has always been obsessed with outer space, God and the heavens, I started having my Vedic charts done and they are much more comprehensive and well rounded. In Vedic astrology my ascendant is Aries, my Sun is in Leo and my Moon is in Pisces. Ding ding ding! Oh, the watery world ruled by the Moon. If you're ever interested in the science of astrology - look into Vedic astrology. It's connected to Swara yoga. This is one reason many Indians have the charts of potential life mates read before joining into a union of marriage. In a loose translation from Hindi to English, it is called "opening the cloth from the heavens". I used to think it complete hocus-pocus and hogwash, but as I grew deeper into exploring my spiritual life and saw the connection Vedic astrology has to science I have come to enjoy this aspect of the science of spirituality. There were gaps and ideologies that always felt foreign to me in Western astrology that felt more complete and familiar, and dare I say, practical in Vedic astrology. There are so many ways you can get to know more about yourself. Find out what your way is instead of cruising social media for inspirational quotes and ideas of how someone you look up to and admire is. Inspiration is a good starting point but emulating and copying that which is not you is robbing the world of your magic. More importantly, it's robbing you of your own magic. If you find yourself constantly feeling lost, searching, trying to be something or someone, trying to be perceived in a particular light online or offline, trying to fit in while feeling rejected or misunderstood yet always living with a space inside you that is yearning for more - you're probably pretending, trying to be someone or something you're not or plain old faking it. Just be yourself.
As for me, my August is filled with more of my favourite things. Everyday I have a moment of deep gratitude for being able to live the life I do. One that is as busy with work as it is with personal time. To be able to live and move through my days with an ease while still earning an income without the stress of a corporate hustle is something I am so grateful for I could bow down and kiss the earth to count my lucky stars. I decided long ago that earning a lot of money was something I was willing to give up when I finally ended my career as a celebrity stylist. I have had the good fortune to be employed for healthy rates and salaries, that no, don't compare to the money I was making as a stylist, but afford me an ease and sense of peace and wonder which are invaluable to me. Living in a world of tour buses, private planes, luxury cars, luxury hotels and luxury clothes for over two decades taught me how none of those things, as nice as they are, mean anything to me. What I love is to be in love with my life. To have freedom and time to nurture the fluctuations of growing older and living according to a rhythm that supports my being. Whatever that is for you... do more of that. We've all heard that saying about how no one who is on their death bed taking their last breath wishes they worked more. In a society that is becoming obsessed with and even glorifying entrepreneurship and the 24/7 hustle to become rich, famous, influential - take pause and check in and ask yourself, is that kind of grinding good for me? As someone who has been self-employed for over two decades and has never had financial security in the form of a regular paycheque, I can tell you the stress of grinding for 'stuff' or an 'image' or an 'income' will make you so sick. It can literally kill you. And you know what, nothing you've acquired, bought, eaten, drank, drove, flown in, fucked or had fun doing will matter. Because you'll be dead. Prioritise your happiness, prioritise personal growth, prioritise self-awareness. Stop pretending to be someone you're not and get happy. I believe we are all magicians. So go make some magic. I look forward to seeing how you put your spell on the world.