It wasn't that I don't expect criticism. Not everyone loves science fiction. And those that do may not like mine. Just because someone doesn't like my work doesn't mean that it's bad. Think of all the great books that ended up on the ban list.
No, it was more that I had just poured my heart and soul into this story. I edited and edited and carefully thought about each detail and expressed deep emotions--some mine, some my characters, all leaving me very vulnerable. I thought I'd be excited about sharing my work with the world. And it was exciting. And it was horrible too.
It's like telling someone you secretly admire how much you love them. In that moment of exposure, you give them the chance to trample you for the hope of being cherished. And now I realize that art, when expressed to the fullest, is beautiful because the artist has poured themselves into their work. It is when the artist holds back of themselves that the work is stilted, disjointed, broken.
Have I given every last ounce of who I am? Probably not. I could do more.