What’s In A Name?

Posted: June 10, 2011 in Family, Friends, Motivational

He Was Born…

Pat Vincent Palazzolo. It was a good name. The Americanized version of his grandfathers, Pasquale and Vincenzo.

Pasquale means “born on Easter”. Vincenzo means “The Conqueror”. They’re both good, strong names.
Pat means “Fish”. Vincent still means “Conquering”. Palazzolo means “dweller of the palace”.
I like it. It’s got ties to the bible, strength and royalty. It’s a good name.

The Early Years


As I was finishing up elementary school, I had become a bigger kid. The words “childhood obesity” weren’t around then. I was referred to by the adults as chubby or husky. I wore husky pants. I was not one of the boys being noticed by the girls. I was the chubby kid. The husky kid. I was fat. Hey…that rhymes with Pat. I guess that’s why it all started. I guess it’s why…

They called me Fat Pat

It seemed convenient. I mean it’s a pretty perfect rhyme. It didn’t even require much creativity so it caught on quick. As a kid, we don’t really think of how long immaturity lasts. When I think of it as an adult, I figure it’s something that would have died off after elementary school. It didn’t. It lasted throughout middle school. All through sixth, seventh and eighth grade I was still “Fat Pat”. It got a lot worse as I started to lean toward geekdom. The surfers, skaters, girls…heck, even my fellow band mates were calling me Fat Pat when they needed a quick cheap shot. I started to hate that name. I was really tired of it. I was glad that after middle school I’d been given a chance to go to high school in a different county since my father taught there. I figured it would be a good way to start over with some new friends.

Call me Vince

When I started out at old LHHS, I made sure my teachers all changed my name in their role books to Vince. I introduced myself to new friends as Vince. I wanted nothing to do with the name Pat. I wasn’t going to be called Fat Pat again. I was taking control.

It didn’t help

It wasn’t long before I started clashing with jocks and bullies in high school. I knew there was no way those people would start calling me Fat Pat again. I’d been careful to avoid that. They had to be more creative and I figured they would never call me Fat F&#@!, Fatty!, Fat Ass. Still immature. Still hurtful. Still a cheap shot at pointing out I wasn’t part of the elite, skinny people. Still a fat geek. Beneath the surface I was still Fat Pat. Here are a few pictures of me back then. I would do ANYTHING to look like this again. I look at these pictures and I don’t think I was fat back then.

Time For A Cool Change

After high school I went to college for a bit. I wound up going to culinary school and graduated with honors. I was 23. I still took issues with my name and how the memories of being made fun of still haunted me. In an effort to honor my grandfathers and avoid being called Pat, I had my first and middle names changed from Pat Vincent to Pasquale Vincenzo. Now I’d feel better about my name. Now I would be…

The Conqueror of the Palace Born on Easter

I liked the name Pasquale. It didn’t take long to realize most people couldn’t say it right. They’d call me Pascal, Pasqual(Pass Quail) and other butchered versions. I’d wind up saying “just call me Pat”. That’s what they’d call me. Not Fat Pat. Just Pat. Maybe it wasn’t the name. Maybe it was the beautiful people. Maybe it was the way I decided to handle it.

A lot More of Us

To the jock: You were already stronger and faster. Why did you have to point out that I wasn’t?
To the prep: You were already cooler. Why did you have to point out that I wasn’t?
To the cheerleader: You were already beautiful. Why did you have to point out that I wasn’t?
Why do people that have more need to make those of us who have less feel worse?

I think Lewis Skolnick said it best:

We have news for the beautiful people. There’s a lot more of us than there are of you.

Or maybe it was Patrick Dempsey:

He’s just trying to make friends being himself. Cools, Nerds, your side, my side…Man, it’s all bull$h!t. It’s just tough enough to be yourself.

I handle things differently lately. I’m not ashamed of my weight. I’m a little miffed that I let myself get to this point but I’ve taken a positive turn with my thoughts. I’m taking my bad past experiences and turning them into motivation. I could easily continue to sit around letting the past haunt me like it has for the last ten years. I’m refusing to let it go any further. I can change. There are enough people out there that will look at me poorly and judge me. If I think those same things about myself, they win. The funny thing is that the people that view you and judge you, they don’t change most of the time. I remember going to my 10th reunion and all the cliques were still there sitting in different parts of the room. It reminded me of the cafeteria at school. My friend, Linda, just said this today:

Our 20th [reunion] got me rethinking again about who truly mattered the most to me all those years ago. Everyone showing up this weekend are from the popular/status crowd…one I never cared to take part of back then, nor do I care to waste money now on a competition of who is doing better, has the prettier spouse, kept their figure, etc. So I said, ‘screw it’. You guys were all always unconditional and loved one another for who they are, not what they were or had.

There are those who love me unconditionally. Some of them call me Pat. Some of them still call me Vince. They love me, believe in me and appreciate me for who I am and not what I look like. They know, too well, how my obesity has been a constant downer for most of my life. They’ve seen me rejected for dating and for jobs because of it but they’ve remained and never turned their backs on me. They’ve stuck with me despite the way I look. Those are the people I want surrounding me. I’m not haunted by my past feelings of failure. Instead, I’m constantly reminded of those who want to see me succeed. It’s a constant motivator.

What about you?

Do things like insulting nicknames haunt you to this day? How do you silence the voices of the past and move on?

Weekly Weigh-In

Last week I went up three pounds from 308 to 311. This morning I’m down to 307! I’m pretty happy about it. Seven pounds remain between me and the first goal! It’s very exciting to be this close. Talk to you soon!

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One Last Thing

My friend, The Primal Toad always does a Blog Carnival each week. It works like this. I can put a link to my blog on his blog site as long as I link back to his from mine. I don’t just believe in doing things half-a$$ed so I’ll tell you that Toad’s blog contains a wealth of information. Health and fitness tips, recipes, information about primal/paleo foods. You have to check him out. I get a lot of my daily information from him. Click this link: Primal Toad

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Comments
  1. Barbara Hochreiter says:

    Wow, this is a very good narrative and, I for one, have always seen past the weight (I have my own to look at in the mirror every day) to the kind, generous, funny and loving person you truly are. I know that many of your friends, like James, Matt, Tommy, etc., see you for who you are as well.

    Keep up the great work. I’m proud of you and the man you are!

  2. Linda Braun says:

    I’m so proud of you! WOW! When we finally let self-love and worth into our hearts, everything else we want and need falls into place. I learned that the very hard way, and even though I had some real ‘meanies’ throughout my life, without them, I don’t think I would be quite the person I am now. I think our 30s are about realization of who we are physically, emotionally and spiritually – even a make or break point. Some people think ‘it’s too late’ and/or become hardened and bitter from past struggles and bullies. But, like you, I’m a ‘better late than never’ kind of person. And my old friend, it looks like you are hitting it out of the ballpark and really finally loving Pat/Vince, like everyone else loves him. Lots of love to you! 🙂

  3. Heather says:

    Hey Vince, Pat, whatever. I think your new name should be Inspiration. I love to follow your journey. I will post a similar postregarding my nicknames and chubbiness. Keep it up!!!

  4. Jonathan C. Steele says:

    Hey, Bro! I had to post this to my wall, I hope you dont mind. Give it a read when you get a chance please. sei sempre stato un eroe!

  5. No bad nicknames growing up. Hmmm, I got made fun of for my skin. Very white. Casper. Glow in the dark. Still not a fan of the pale, but hey…NO wrinkles! haha!! who’s laughin’ now!?

    People make fun of my son’s middle name.. they call him dorito. It’s Desiderio. It means “one who is desired/hoped for.”

    and it’s ok to go up and down w the weight. I have limited myself to monthy weigh-ins…the weekly ones just depress me. Actually, since my scale is off – that just makes it worse. My scale is older than me. Huh, I should do a post about it – get a new scale and have a “before and after” scale post, LOL…

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