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For The Love With Jen Hatmaker Podcast

Apr 21, 2023

Suleika Jaouad joins our show today to discuss her extraordinary book "Between Two Kingdoms." Suleika shares her story of receiving an early-in-life cancer diagnosis and the way that experience changed her relationship to her sense of community and hope. 

Suleika is a journalist, writer, speaker, and cancer survivor. She has written for The New York Times, Vogue, and NPR and her memoir “Between Two Kingdoms” details her journey of being treated and recovering from leukemia at the age of twenty two. 

Join Jen and Suleika as they discuss the following:

  • Suleika's experience of being diagnosed with cancer at a young age and how it changed her perspective in life.

  • The vital role of community and support during challenging times, and how Suleika's own community rallied around her during her illness.

  • The challenges of writing a memoir and going from a journalist to a memoirist, professionally

  • How to practice self compassion while experiencing “Big Grief” in all it’s different stages 

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Thought-Provoking Quotes

“I think as a culture we're so focused on positivity and self-improvement and on living our best lives that we sort of forget how to live in discomfort.” - Suleika Jouad 

“We live in a culture where we're told that if we only work hard enough, we can live the life that we've always wanted to live. I've been told that my whole life. And you know, there's that saying that when you make plans, god laughs.” - Suleika Jouad 

“I have a post-it note on my desk that's sort of my guiding light in terms of what I'm trying to do when I write. And it says, if you want to write a good book, write what you don't want others to know about you. Yeah. And if you want to write a great book, write what you don't want to know about yourself.” - Suleika Jouad 

“With the distance of time, I see that what I initially thought of as a complete loss of my identity was actually an invitation to get closer to my truer self.” - Suleika Jouad 

“I was a planner, I was a doer. I was someone who had a one year plan and a five year plan and a 10 year plan, and all of that went up in smoke when I got sick. Yeah. Um, and I realized that for much of my adult life, all four years of it at that point, uh, I really summed up my sense of self based on achievement, based on my work ethic, based on my output, based on my grade point average. Yep. And all of that was stripped away from me when I got sick. I lost my job overnight. I was dependent on my parents as much as I've been since elementary school. That's right. I lost my independence, even my ability to shower alone, which for someone who doesn't like to ask for help, who had always thought of myself as fiercely independent, that was a hard pill to swallow.” -Suleika Jouad 


Guest Links
Suleika Jouad Website

Suleika’s Instagram - @suleikajaouad

Suleika’s Twitter - @suleikajaouad

Suleik’s Facebook - @SuleikaJaouadPage


Books & Resources Mentioned in This Episode
“Wolfish” by Erica Berry

“Heads of the Colored People” by Nafissa Thompson-Spires

Nonviolent Communication” by Marshall B. Rosenberg PhD 


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