Have you ever bought a box of clementines?

Finding a ripe box of  clementines is deceptively tough. The trouble isn’t guessing what the fruit will taste like beneath the peel. It’s how clementines are packaged.

Every small wooden box of clementines is capped with bright orange netting. And when you look through the orange netting to the fruit beneath, something tricky happens: every clementine looks brilliantly orange, just like the netting itself.

So on occasion when you take that box of clementines home and peel back the orange netting, the fruit might look a little less orange.

Less vibrant. Not quite ripe or ready.

Sometimes the clementines are discolored, one is occasionally rotten.

The orange plastic netting presents a subtle optical illusion that makes the fruit beneath the netting appear more orange than they are. It’s a subtle marketing trick that gives the human prospector the impression that the fruit beneath the netting is bright orange.

The netting is a lens.

And the lens quite literally colors the fruit beneath.

Most of the time, when you read a blog, buy a book, or even talk to someone, there’s a lens present. Some distance or separation that wants to shape how you see the fruit underneath. We don’t see it.

But it’s no wonder why we see politicians fall by the wayside for cheating on their spouses or taking back room bribes. Why celebrities get married and divorced by the dozens and how great writers, authors and creatives — for all their endeavors, amazing risks and explorations — occasionally fuck up, hard, and in the public’s view.

Because they’re all human. They are us. We are them. There’s no difference.

All you need to know is that the lens is there.

Know that beneath the orange netting is a human being, no different from you.

And know that you have your netting, too.

We all have our nets up: protective layers in how we think, live, create, play, interact and explore. We erect our nets to protect what’s beneath — we erect our nets because we want to be loved, we want to be understood, we want to fit in and be happy.

Most of the time, when others put up their netting, it isn’t there to market to you, trick you, bolster egos or to deceive you.

If you want to understand why someone else might put some netting to color the fruit — her love, his hearts, a soul or a goal or a dream — beneath the surface, just look in the mirror.

The truth is that we’re all trying. No matter what you see, there’s fruit underneath. A heart. A soul. Some bruised memories. Some ripe skills. Plenty of love. One rotting fear. Dreams, goals, and wishes.

We’re just finding our way as we go.