How Bubbles the Cat triumphs through the face of adversity

16 April 2019

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I had the chance to interview one of the coolest kids ever for Autism Awareness Month. I never anticipated the emotions, the strength and the resilience that encapsulates the mind of this brave and amazing girl. Bubbles the Cat is an 11-year-old future veterinarian with a passion for cats, Japan and cheerleading. She was also recently diagnosed with Autism.

She has a bright future thanks to her sunny outlook on life. Despite being bullied, she triumphs through life like the incredible unicorn she is.

What do you want people to know about you?

Usually people at school avoid me. Sometimes I wish that they would know that I am a nice person. Even though I look a little odd on the outside, I’m a nice person on the inside.

Do the people around you know that you have autism?

Sometimes I blurb it out, I don’t have many people to talk to about it. I usually keep it a secret. I wish I could talk to other people about it, but I don’t think I can rely on the people at school [sic]

If you could tell people at school about who you are, what would you tell them?

I would say that my brain is wired differently to theirs, that’s why sometimes I act a little weirder or that I do things that they also like. But I am still nice, I am not a monster. I am a nice person who likes cats.

What would you do if you found out someone at school also has autism?

I would be so happy, and we would be best friends. We would both know how it feels to be different, and we could be different together!

Have you ever experienced a meltdown? What happens? How do you feel?

I do sometimes have meltdowns […] and sometimes I don’t know that I am having one. There will be this one thing that will happen that will make me angry and I will get upset about it and then I don’t know what is happening anymore. So usually I would go to my room and try to find out what is happening.

I’ve been coping with my meltdowns by calling my friend who is nice, and sometimes I will cuddle up with my toys or have a little cry until I’m ready to talk about it.

What do social situations look like for you?

I don’t like loud noises, as soon as I hear a baby crying, I am on lockdown, meltdown… “BABY ALERT!” Sometimes I’m like, “What have I done wrong baby? Why are you crying?”

Sometimes meeting new people– it’s weird at first. Sometimes small talk can be hard. Who is this person, and can I trust them? Are they going to pretend to be my friend? But most of the new people I meet are nice.

At home, I know everyone and it’s happy. I like it here because it’s a happy place and everything is good!

When I get home, I will have an icy pole and then text my friend, “Like hey are you there?” If it’s on the weekends, I do my homework because I have cheer.

When I was in Kindy, I joined the cheer squad, I fell in love with it. I tried to get in for so many years, and I did. I had to move gyms, because my previous one wasn’t very nice. Now I’m at my new gym and I’m trying to make friends, I have one… But I need to socialise more.

Do you remember being diagnosed with autism, and how old you were?

It was quite recently actually. It all started when I moved schools. I thought I could get along with more people, but it was the same. So, we went to talk to a doctor about it and they told me I had autism. So, I was like okay? I guess it explains everything that has happened in my life up until now.

The diagnosis has helped me, and it’s why other people don’t treat me like a person. Because I am a bit odd. Sometimes when I’m drawing myself, I add little glasses because I’m a little nerdy.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I’ve always wanted to be a vet! When I travelled to Japan, I always wanted to live there… So, I want to be a vet in Japan. My favourite part of Japan was Disneyland and Tokyo. So now I’m like, “I’m going to be in Tokyo, doing my job and go to Disneyland.”

Tell us about something you’ve done that you are proud of?

I’m proud of standing up to a bully. There was this one bully that bullied me since Prep. I never spoke about it; I would come home crying. I never spoke to a teacher about it. So Mum told me that I had to go and talk to the teacher. So, when I finally did, it didn’t work, but it changed me.

So, we moved schools completely, so I’m proud of myself for sticking up for myself against the teacher. It isn’t the best way that the teacher could have handled that situation, but I still got some help for it.

Who do you notice is different for you at school versus the other kids?

I find that I don’t hang out with the big groups of people at school. I follow the rules and if they are doing something wrong, I will tell the teacher. This one time these kids in class were playing this game the whole time and I had to be the one to tell the teacher. They figured out it was me who told on them. I tried to explain to them that it was the school rules.

If you could tell people around you, how it feels to be on the spectrum, what would you tell them?

I wish I could tell them that this is normal for me, even though it isn’t normal for them. If I do something odd, I wish I could tell them that it isn’t exactly the weirdest thing I’ve ever done. There’s a reason I’m doing all this and it’s my brain telling me, “hey that’s normal, it’s all normal!” I also wish that they knew not to tell jokes around me, because I don’t understand many of them. Is that mean?

I am a nice person. I think people think I’m weird and people pretend to be your friend and I can tell because they aren’t good at acting. Then they spread rumours behind my back. I wish I had a magic wand and could go “ABRA CADABRA, you have autism for a day.” Just so that they know how it feels.

Even if someone isn’t on the spectrum and they’re being bullied, just because you’re different and you’re a nice person, people just need to take the chance to get to know you.

What advice would you give to others that might be in the same boat as you?

I would tell them, even though you might have autism, it doesn’t make you different. You’re still a nice person, you’re still you. You’re not sick, you aren’t a monster. People might avoid you and that’s normal. Perhaps it’s an answer to why maybe things in life happened to you and why it happened and how it happened. You might not always have the details about it, but you have a piece of it. It isn’t something wrong with your heart, it’s just normal.

A special mention and thanks to the following people for making this possible:

@MrsLlante for giving me the opportunity and for trusting me to interview her daughter. I cannot express what this means to me, to involve me in writing and sharing her story. I am incredibly humbled and grateful for you allowing me to do this! THANK YOU! Thank you for helping me with writing this too!

Also thanks to @PieByPie for being an incredible grammar nazi and for editing this piece.

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