“Come Back to Texas,” the Bowling for Soup song reminds us, that life is just not the same since we left the state. Being born a Texan comes with responsibilities, most that are difficult for residents of other states to understand. Even if we decide to move to North Dakota or Guatemala, we will always be known as Texans, and proud of it. Here’s a few reasons why I am proud to be Texan.

1. Our history is amazing.

Texans study state history on an equal or greater level than American history. It’s not as though we don’t care about what happened before 1836 – Battle of the Alamo and founding of the Republic of Texas – but because we were once our own country, we place greater importance on Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston than John Adams. Of course, three US Presidents hail from Texas too.

2. Our rivalries are fun, not bitter.

As a Texas Longhorn, I was indoctrinated to hate Aggies with a passion reserved for those who insulted my mother or heritage… just kidding. There’s certainly some friendly, spirited, long-standing competition between universities, but nothing that has resulted in extreme violence or rioting as we’ve seen in other states. Even the competition between cities like Dallas, Austin, and Houston are all in good fun, because we’re all Texan at heart. Not the OU Sooners, though; they can go home.

3. We have stereotypes, but they’re mostly positive.

Even while we’re bragging about being the best state in the country, we do so in a charmingly rustic manner. Everything is bigger in Texas, meaning we can claim our weight or height is simply what makes us Texan. The BBQ doesn’t hurt, either.

4. No state income tax.

I only have to file federal returns in April! Na-nana-naa-nah!

5. Our state has everything you could possibly need.

Aside from the political angle, there was a reason politicians have advocated secession over the years. Texas refines a majority of oil for the rest of the country and handles most of the satellite communications from Houston. We’re rich in cattle, grains, fruits, vegetables and natural beauty of areas like Big Bend and the wetlands in the east. Not so surprisingly with all its flat land, Texas is the leading producer of wind power in the US. A self-sufficient state results in self-sufficient people.

6. We gave the world Beyonce.

You’re welcome, America.

7. We grow up tough.

A lifetime in Texas means surviving tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes (ok, small ones, but still), four types of poisonous snakes, tarantulas, fire ants, coyotes, scorpions, black widows, yellow jackets, and Chuck Norris. We’re prepared for everything unless it snows.

8. We’re Texan first, American second.

Our larger than life mythology, our crazy cast of characters – most of them in Austin – and our shared history all make us Texans first. We can reach out to other Texans in other states and countries and find camaraderie.

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