New EP, A Birthday Road Trip, More Than One Way Turns One Year, and an Election

[COVID 19 + travel disclaimer: If you're traveling or plan to travel, please consider postponing as they're anticipating a second surge. And do not leave the country and avoid flying. I tested negative before and after leaving (considering the exposure waiting period). I drove there via rented car (much cheaper due to the pandemic). I did not fly or take any public transit. I did not stay in any hotels or shared spaces, each space we rented was completely ours with a locked door to the outside. I got take out or cooked and did not dine outside. I stayed away from others, and wore a mask/social distances outside when seeing people, and spent 90% of my time outdoors. I brought many masks, ample hand sanitizer, and cleaning supplies. This was not 100% sure-proof and there are things I'm sure we could have done better. I would also not have gone right now during the second surge.]

Plate painted by Uliya that says "More Than One Way" and "30" - it is ceramic and painted yellow, blue, pink, and green.
More Than One Way - 30th birthday - 10/25/19

I just celebrated my 31st birthday on 10/25. I had joyous, peaceful, invigorating, perspective putting, grounding, and rejuvenating time. This birthday also marks the one year release of More Than One Way (see plate I painted last year with my mom on my 30th birthday on the left).

I also had a wonderful time traveling with my partner on the road for two weeks between TX and CA (see photo gallery below). During the trip, I tapped into such expansiveness — feeling that there was so much to see and experience. I felt called to live by any means necessary.

Illustration of Uliya against an orange to dark purple gradient. There's a crescent moon in the sky and floating clouds. Uliya is wearing make up. There are power lines in their hair (which is tied back in an unseen bun). There are also flower sin their hair. Their are tears falling from the left eye and an anatomical heart in a vine dangling from their right ear.
Breathe Me In - EP cover art by Uliya:

The best birthday gift you could give is to listen to More Than One Way and pre-order/pre-save my upcoming EP, Breathe Me In.

About Breathe Me In

The 5 songs of Breathe Me In - EP are some of my reflections on love — how loving someone else, in whatever way, is a risk worth taking. Love gives life meaning. Love builds sanctuaries. Love teaches us. And love transform us. Making this EP was a gift. Especially now, reminders that nothing and no one can stop me from loving and being loved are so important to me.

New newsletter

And check out my first monsoon dreaming newsletter - you can subscribe to them here.


And while I'm here, I must acknowledge the fact that Biden-Harris won! I and so many other are immensely relieved and feeling celebratory. And while I'm of the mindset that electoral politics has its severe limits and that Kamala Harris being the first Black woman and [caste-privileged] Indian-American elected to the executive branch might merely be symbolic, I still have immense hope that lasting change can occur and that we can shift to a more restorative and collectivist way of being.

I understand the reticence to see this as an outright victory. Trump garnered 70 million votes - which is still record breaking. But while traveling through the country's red parts, I knew that the vast majority of Trumps' supporters were not the rageful vocal minority or a greedy wealthy minority (regardless of race) but a fearful, confused, and struggling.

I had this moment while driving. We saw an elderly white couple driving. And we got a bit scared and then they saw us and they put more distance between us and them. They were likely Trump supporters. Although they had more power to weaponize the state against us (and this unbalanced power should be stripped away as no one should have this power), we were afraid of one another. I'm not a Trump-supporter apologist, but as someone who lives and has lived feeling unsafe in Trump America as a brown queer person, I understand that there isn't this mass of Trump clones out there. Even though it may not excuse the fact that they tried to vote in a corporate fascist and racist, I still think there's nuance and shared values — that we're not alone or without hope.

[Please see alt text for further image descriptions]

(Edit: 11-16-20, new upload)

Playing a bit of "Let Me Know Before You Go" in Joshua Tree

On the road...

Pictures from the trip

I love some of these so much that I just printed some blown-up version so put up on our walls in our home. Crossing my fingers that they turn out. I'll def share what they look like on the wall! My friend, Preyanka, is featured in these posts as well :)