The Diva That Felt Vulnerable—Chocabaret Kickstarter Is Up!

Check it out on Kickstarter

Check it out on Kickstarter

The Kickstarter for “Chocabaret: a tasting of NY artisan chocolates set to music” has launched! Get your tickets to the show and other chocolatey rewards at the Chocabaret Kickstarter page.

Was it smooth sailing? No… not quite… at all. But it wasn’t a disaster like the space shuttle Challenger, either. And yet, there was this feeling of unease, uncertainty… a feeling of fear and shame.

Oh, the plan was to be SUPER ORGANIZED.

After all, I’ve been working on this Kickstarter campaign for almost 9 months. I wanted to have every “i” dotted and every “t” crossed. I wanted to have all my “please help me make this project happen” emails lined up, all my blog posts written and edited, all my social media tweets and Facebook posts laying in wait. I wanted to have all the million details that go into doing something like this in “ready - set - go!” formation.  

I’d pictured myself on launch day in a modern, white room, at mission control, sitting at a desk, looking like an executive, in a beautifully tailored suit, with my make-up precisely administered, hair coiffed….getting ready to press a GIANT red launch button. Calm. cool and collected…

Instead I was in the weeds, unkempt, worried, exhausted, overwhelmed, running around like a chicken with my head cut off, actually sweating, thanks to the flash of hot, humid weather Mama Nature sprang on us on launch day and generally just trying to keep it together—running on pure adrenalin.

In this state, I managed to pull off a LIVE launch party on a Google+ Live Hangout On Air. I had a pianist in my kitchen as I talked about the show and chocolate, demoed chocolate desserts and sang my original tunes.

I had to do a mad scramble to get the pianist at the last minute, but I did it. The launch was not precise or perfect. I forgot to drink water so I was doing a bit of a Marc Rubio impersonation at times. Google+ crashed right after the first tune, “The Fried Chicken Blues”, but thanks to Enrico De Trizio (the talented and tech-savvy accompanist, who I found on good old Craig’s List) we got back on and finished the party.

I was comatose by the end of that day, but Chocabaret launched. The die was cast and in addition to excitement and exhaustion, I felt fear and shame. Not because I was NOT the epitome of precision, perfection and organization either.

It’s the strangest feeling asking all the people you know to support your dreams—to ask them for money. It’s the opposite of putting a show together and asking people to buy tickets. I’d had a lot of success with that abroad, but after my first and only show in New York did great critically and came up short financially, I knew that crowd funding was the only way to go. And asking people to pledge money to support Chocabaret makes sense in this context, but at the same time, part of it feels yucky… it’s uncomfortable.

But despite feeling torn, I pursued this. Being a singing chef is my thing. It light me up. It’s my niche and I’m one of the only people in the world who does what I do, the way I do it. I’m an entertainer, a performer, a teacher, an inspirer. I take my favorite things: FOOD and food people and create a new way to celebrate and enjoy them. I’ve had sold out shows and rave reviews.

My purpose is to delight and make a contribution to others. For years, I’d been hiding out, not really doing it. Oh, I was tip-toeing around it, revealing a bit in a speech or through my events, or in my workshops. I was like a super crappy stripper. I’d show a bit of shoulder or little leg, but I was not really taking it all off. Not really showing me.

Now I’m saying, “I’m here to do my thing”. I’m asking my friends, fans, followers and any chocolate lovers I can muster, to help me win, to come see the show, to help me take it all off, in a manner of speaking, help me make my dream a reality.

I worked my ass off on this project. I studied the Kickstarter platform and books about crowd funding. I poured over the rewards and the numbers. I tried to make the campaign fun and compelling. I tried to think of everything I could do to make it clear and make it a success. And yet along with feeling, that this is exactly what I should be doing, and this is going to be a success, there’s this feeling of pain…an ache inside… the feeling of vulnerability. What if I’m wrong? What if I put myself out there and this project doesn’t get enough backers? What if who I am is not enough? What if (insert self-deprecating, self-defeating, self-loathing thought HERE)?

Luckily my mother handed me an article in Oprah’s magazine where she interviewed the amazing Brené Brown. Brené is an expert on vulnerability, on daring to “show up and be seen”. She has a book called “Daring Greatly”. In the article was a paraphrased version of this Theodore Roosevelt quote:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

And it made me cry.

I’m in that arena. I keep mustering up the courage to put myself totally out there and it doesn’t always feel good. But I’m here, plugging away. I’m feeling it all. I’m moved to tears by each person who steps up and backs this project and each person who is giving their time and effort to help me make it a success.

Whether it’s successful or not, I know that I did the best I could do and I stepped up and stripped off. And that I’m doing exactly what I’m meant to do and “daring greatly”.

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