Person sharing stories to friends around a fireplace

Seriously Parkinson's?!

I remember when I was younger I’d often have moments where ridiculous situations would unfold around me.

And I’d be standing there shaking my head looking around for the Director who must be waiting somewhere to shout, "CUT," and the scene would end. But it never happened.

It runs in the family

And the bizarre things just kept happening. In fact, it wasn’t just me. I noticed my whole family were magnets for situations that would make a good story. And as my favourite quote says, “Great stories happen to those who can tell them,” (Ira Glass) so I’ve always felt it my duty to pass them on.

My family are all storytellers in their own way. When we were kids my Mum would write a column for the local newspaper about the situations our family found themselves in. My Dad can hold a room spellbound with a yarn. And my brother is always inquisitive and has questions like he’s writing a secret journal in his head.

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My top 5 ridiculous moments

Since my Parkinson’s diagnosis, the ridiculous seems to have ramped up to the point my Mum felt the need to give me a notebook to write them all down in. So in true Lawton Family style I’m going to share my top 5 "you must be joking" moments since diagnosis:

1. Foot cramp 5 minutes into a Parkinson’s charity walk

The year was 2015 and I’d assembled 45 of my nearest and dearest (and a cameraman) in my local park, dressed in the custom uniform items I’d made for them, ready to take part in a charity walk for Parkinson’s UK. The camera was rolling, I was leading the pack, the flag I’d crafted from a pillowcase that morning was blowing in the breeze. Let’s do this. Oh, hi dystonia, fancy you turning up to join the fun. And 5 minutes in. We’re so lucky to have you grace us.

That was a slow walk. Thanks, Parkinson’s!

2. Almost headbutting Theresa May

I was giving a talk at Buckingham Palace and sharing a stage with our then Prime Minister, Theresa May. After we’d finished, I was seated in a chair, my neck tipped down into my neck brace, watching people’s shoes pass by. One smart pair of black court shoes stopped in front of me so I followed them up, past the neat pencil skirt, to the nipped-in jacket, to the statement necklace, and … oh damn, it was the Prime Minister. I better stand up. My legs took a bit of convincing so I jerked upwards. Just as she bent down to talk to me. Almost. Thanks, Parkinson’s!

3. The tremor, the red wine, and the white carpet

I feel like this one pretty much speaks for itself. Thanks, Parkinson’s!

4. Swiping a stripper

I’m a single girl and one night whilst idly swiping on Tinder, my tremor selected a perma-tanned, greased up stripper for us to chat with. I felt bad and ended up messaging him for almost three hours. That’s 180 minutes of my life I’ll never get back. Thanks, Parkinson’s!

5. The curious case of the missing tremor

This is my most recent addition to my story collection. In the past 6 months, I’ve started doing stand-up comedy and was lucky to get through to the semi-finals of a London competition. I have a very noticeable tremor so I have woven this into my comedy sketches and those bits normally get the biggest laughs. 6 years of shaking. Pretty much all day. And I got up on that stage and my body was completely still. I’m not funny when I’m still. Thanks, Parkinson’s!

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