If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone debate about whether or not Florida and Texas are or should be considered part of the South, I'd head to the closest Neiman Marcus and buy myself a nice little treat. (Did you know that Neiman Marcus was birthed in Dallas?)
I'm not quite sure why people get so heated about this, but I'll give you my two cents. (Calmly and rationally, of course.)
To me, being Southern not only means that you were born below the Mason Dixon line, but that you have happily and voluntarily embraced the culture, the history, and the tradition of this part of the country. You drink sweet tea, you eat biscuits, you have manners, you say 'sir' and 'ma'am', you send handwritten correspondence, you have a deep understanding of the importance of sorority rush, you're a big hugger, and you bless people's hearts, to name a few. You understand that the South has a reputation and you make it your mission to uphold it as such.
I was born and raised in South Florida and spent my teenage years in North Texas. I wouldn't trade my adolescence for a thing. It used to bother me that I didn't grow up in one place but these days I see it as an advantage. It's made me a better networker, I'm easily able to relate to more people and I'm absolutely thrilled to meet anyone from my hometowns. Almost as thrilled as I am that I get to have two hometowns.
Are Florida and Texas 'The South'? In my mind, yes. Geographically, they're in the Southern region of the United States. Southern Living magazine has written about both cities I've lived in - Coral Gables and Dallas. Southern Living. A magazine about living in the South. If it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me.
I may live in the Northeast now but I will always fancy myself a Southern gal. No matter how hard you fight me.