Matthew McConaughey’s Austin Has One Simple Rule: ‘All You Gotta Be Is You’

Gabriel C. Pérez/Texas Standard

Texas Standard | By Laura Rice/ Published June 22, 2018 at 12:57 PM CT

Hollywood actor Matthew McConaughey grew up in Uvalde, went to high school in Longview and graduated from college a UT Austin Longhorn. He even launched his acting career in Texas with his breakout role as Wooderson in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused. To call him a Texas boy might be a bit of an understatement.

When acting picked up, he did what any star does and made the big move to Los Angeles. But he couldn’t stay away for long. Especially after a return to Austin made him stop and reevaluate. His mother was 77 at the time. He and his wife were starting their family together and he wanted to raise his children on the same values he had learned in Texas. So needless to say, all signs seemed to point him back home.

Now, with the whole family back in the city of his alma mater, McConaughey took some time to reflect on what it is about the city of Austin that captured his heart. He shared his thoughts in what he called “a love letter, a constitution.”

“It’s true.
We are going through adolescence right now,
and we cannot let our popularity make us a cliche.

Because we are not
a fad,
a whim
or a hobby.

Austin has been and is a movement.

We are
a living legend,
a natural law.

Our identity will not be hijacked by affluences and socialites
I.e. who’s got more money and who’s in what party.

We’ve got to shake hands with the fact that we are not a village anymore.
Yet at the same time preserve the values of our village while embracing our growth.

We have a constitution here.
We’ve got do’s and don’ts.
We’ve earned the right to remind ourselves and educate the newcomers of our value system.

Now we’ve got a very simple rule here in Austin
(which I recognized very early when I came here in ‘92.)
Simple rule –
In Austin, all you gotta be is you.

Which is different from being the you that you think people want you to be.
We cannot allow our growth and marketability to interrupt us from being ourselves.

Where nobody is too good
And everybody is good enough.

We got soul.

We measure success by quality of our livelihoods not the size of our wallets.
We don’t walk over people’s backs or stab ‘em in it to get where we’re going.
We walk side by side and
We lend a helping hand to someone in need before they even ask for it.
We share good ideas for free, more than any other city I’ve ever been in.
We are not a horn honkin’ town
and an accident can still be handled with a sincere,
“Hey man, I’m sorry,” rather than a lawsuit.

We do not chase relevance or acknowledgment from outside ourselves.
We mind our own business, not yours.
We value private property, that’s why we don’t litter, rubberneck or looky-loo.

Because once again,
In Austin,
Rule number one is simple:
All you gotta be is you.”

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