Kiley Lotz of Petal soundtracked Parks and Recreation for our latest Flix Mix!
Combining our love of gluing our eyeballs to the continuous stream of content on Netflix and swell tunes, we’ve created a new feature where music people we love make their own soundtrack to their favorite Netflix selection. Kiley Lotz pours her heart out against the soft strums of acoustic guitar or the loud hum of a four piece band as Petal. There’s a transfixing honesty in her voice that feels familiar even on first listen. We’ve only ever seen Kiley play an acoustic set. But even then, the whole crowd dropped to dead silence as every audience member took on a portion of the heartbreak she sang about. It’s no surprise her connection with her Netflix selection was deep and meaningful and came to life musically in some all-time classics. Here’s how her life journey intersected with the colorful cast of characters in Parks and Recreation:
I was living in New York City in the Summer of 2014. I was beginning treatment for anxiety, paranoia, and suicidality and trying to relearn how to function. I kept a pretty strict schedule in those days. The structure was good for me and I was beginning to feel happy to spend time alone again. Cooking, painting, and cleaning were all active things I could do with my hands to stay busy.
I missed my friends from home and my partner and my family. I didn’t know how to accept their help or even begin to talk to them about what I was experiencing without feeling like I was being exhausting. I needed to occupy my mind some more. One night as I began to meal plan for the next day, I picked up my computer and decided to try a new show. I had heard a lot of great things about Parks and Recreation, an Amy Poehler show about a group of misfits working in local government in Indiana, and decided to give it a try.
I was instantly hooked. The specificity of the characters and relatable nature of the story made me feel like I knew them personally. The first season is dry, irreverent, and maybe even a little difficult to empathize with, but I loved seeing this group of friends work together and help sort out each other’s problems. I watched two seasons in two days.
As I continued treatment and started to feel myself gain new skills in coping and in functioning in one of the most isolating for cities in the world, I took a new sense of pride in myself. I’d get home, make my meals, and put on Parks. It became a part of my day. Those characters became a part of my mentality. The way they all pushed each other to follow their dreams, the way they were undeniably themselves and remained steadfast to who they were, the way they remained honest and loyal in all conflicts – it made me realize that maintaining my friendships was crucial to my survival. Watching Leslie try her best to make people happy (but sometimes fail with an overbearing sense of justice) made me feel like it was okay to mess up. It’s okay to get it wrong. Because if you have good friends, they will help guide you in the right direction. I started to try and text more, be more honest about my needs and my experiences, and just let myself laugh more.
I love this show because it helped bring me back to life, back to friendship and goals and motion. It made me laugh again and pick up the phone. I’ve watched it so many times now I can’t even count. Thank you, Parks and Recreation, for helping me through such a wild time in my life.
Leslie Knope: “Grown Woman” – Beyoncé
Ron Swanson: “I Will Always Love You” – Dolly Parton
Ben Wyatt: “Australia” – The Shins
April Ludgate: “Ghost” – The Neutral Milk Hotel
Andy Dwyer: “Yonda” – Mike Quinn
Tom Haverford: “We Found Love” – Rhianna
Anne Perkins: “True Colors” – Cyndi Lauper
Donna Meagle: “Kiss” – Prince
Jerry, Gary, Larry, Terry Gergich: “Biscuits” – Kacey Musgraves
Chris Traeger: “Don’t Stop Me Now” – Queen