Returning home from work on the tube last night, I caught my reflection in the tunnel blackened window of the carriage. I stared and stared and could not believe that the person looking back was me. I remember years ago, before ever working in kitchens or even contemplating it, watching a documentary about one of Ramsay's restaurants. The staff were all far too thin and wearing ill fitting clothes, ghostly white, had sunken eyes with dark circles under them, and arms and hands covered in fresh, pink, shiny scars.
Last night, the person in the window was all of these things. I have barely eaten in days (mainly due to our abysmally dreadful staff chef making inedible food), have been sleeping on average four to five hours a night for the past two years, spend my days running up and down many flights of stairs, and never see the sun anymore. Strangely enough though, I enjoy being this new me.
Never in my life have I felt so strong. Yesterday, despite the exhaustion of a day's work on no food or no sleep, I sauntered up the long escalator in London Bridge taking the steps two by two and wasn't even out of breath when I reached the top. I can run now, for quite long distances, and faster than ever before, and most importantly, I can now lift things as heavy as myself.
But still, my reflection always comes as a shock, and I stare at it like I've never seen it before.