Title: The Part-Time Nalaholic
Author: Ian Schanning
Date: 8/30/05

    Most people seem to start these sorts of essays with a couple paragraphs talking about what Nala means to them, how much more they enjoyed the movie because of her presence and so forth. I wonít be doing that, not because Iím not a true Nalaholic, but because itís been done several times and I donít want to retread old territory.

   I really only became involved in NA after the message board was started. It gave me a great opportunity to talk to others who felt similarly about our favorite character, but bit by bit, I began to notice a contrast between myself and some of the other members. You see, I donít dream about Nala, or think about her all the time, and I even occasionally go months without checking the forums. I focus the vast majority of my attention on the real world: school, work, friends, even just playing video games and messing around on the internet. Was I not a real Nalaholic because I rarely had her on my mind?

   Donít get me wrong, I think The Lion King is a fabulous movie, and Nala is an exceptional character. Nevertheless, itís hard for me to see the connections sometimes between the lioness that a few people at Disney made up and the one that Nalaholics have in their imagination, the one that inspires them. I always have one eyebrow raised when I read some poster getting a bit flustered because Nalaís name wasnít capitalized, or because I suggested that Nala might not be perfectly virtuous, or even because someone pointed out that Nalaís primary glory was symbolic, not literal. Does this extra level of skepticism mean I can never truly appreciate her in the same way my more faithful colleagues do?

   Just when I get a little discouraged on this topic, I start remembering. Remembering just how it felt to walk out of that theater for the first time ten years ago. Remembering how inspired and happy I felt after hearing Shadowlands, after seeing the play and reliving my feelings from í94, now better able to appreciate them. Remembering how generous NalaAddict of this board was in offering me a Nala shirt that I was unable to buy in a store, and my own willingness to wear it in public despite what others might think. Remembering how even some of my best friends didnít really accept my affection for Nala, and how that didnít make a lick of difference to me. Remembering how big my smile was when I first found Nalaholics Anonymous.

   Remembering how a group of diverse people from around the world can be connected and united through their feelings for Nala. Yeah, I think I just might belong here after all.

Copyright (C) 2005, Ian Schanning
Nala, Simba and TLK and all its characters is Copyright (C) 1994, Disney