“I have always promised myself that the minute I can no longer take the burden of what I do [or] find it too hard to care and switch to not caring, I will stop doing what I do. Where I am in my career I have progressed what feels like far too quickly at times into a practice that tends to expose the worst, the saddest, and most hopeless parts of our nature. It is a burden and a challenge to rise to the occasion to seek out humanity every day and all at once.”
Veen is a 32-year-old Criminal Defence Lawyer. She is pictured at the Supreme Court of British Columbia where she has spent the past 5 years in major back-to-back cases. She told me it’s the place she has forsaken showers, skipped many meals, and began her love/hate relationship with coffee. When I asked Veen what her most challenging experience was she told me “surviving the wars in Iraq, leaving my home, my grandmother who raised me, seeing my parents struggle with everything they have lost, my mother never getting over losing our life as it was in Iraq, and somehow remaining hopeful and un-scarred from the prejudice and hatred that fuelled all that loss/conflict/reason for us leaving.” What’s most important to Veen is “to keep having faith in the world, in the power of people to be better and to do better than what we have done (sometimes what we do over and over). It is important to me to be someone and see others who have gone through some horrendous things but still haven't lost their heart, their passion for life, or for a better life for themselves and others. It's important to me because at the end of this all, what will matter is how we lived and loved, and how well we helped others to do the same.” Veen told me one thing she knows for sure is “if we all learned to speak and listen from a place of vulnerability each day in small measures we'd make a better world. I include myself as someone who struggles with and is challenged by this.”
What is your favourite hobby or pastime?
"Cooking up a storm without a recipe in sight."
Where is your favourite place to find yourself?
"On the yoga mat or in a foreign land where you talk more with your hands than actual words."