Why is Texas so special? As a lifetime resident, I can say that it's not easy to explain, but it definitely is.

We're the only state that has also been its own nation. Our state history is taught at impressionable adolescent age in schools, and the tales are not tall because they are stretched by fable. When you think of what 'the West' once meant, Texas is an apt depiction. In a lot of ways, we are still the wild west.

We have open carry gun laws, and it's not unheard of to see men in cowboy boots and hats in fine dining establishments. Some consider a starched shirt and jeans with boots and a hat, a "Texas Tuxedo."

A recent New York Times article written by Manny Fernandez describes his life as a transplanted Texan, where he states, "You don’t just move to Texas. It moves into you."

I think he's right. In my 30-plus years as a Texan, I have met a lot of people with varying perceptions of the state and our attitude. I have traveled to both coasts and abroad, and regardless where I have gone people have an opinion about the Lone Star State.

When I visited Italy in 2012, I never told anyone that I was from the US. I always said I was from Texas. This usually solicited an amusing response about who shot JR, or just one word: "Dallas." When I shared my roots, they were friendly and kind. I'm not sure Americans are as well received as Texans are, which I find amusing.

If you take the time to read Manny's thoughts on the state, and I think you should, you'll find that he spoke with authors and essayists about how Texans seem to be identifying more and more with their own state and it's ideals.

“I think part of the reason Texas is having a moment is because it’s being more itself than it’s ever been,” said Stephen Harrigan, a novelist and essayist in Austin who is writing a history of the state, as told to Manny Fernandez of the New York Times. “It’s Texas unchained, in a way.”

Here I am growing up Texan.