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Independent Voice

Healing Grief Through Creativity

May 20, 2024 05:48PM ● By Debra Dingman, photo by Debra Dingman

Valerie Davis, owner of True You Boutique, stands with her merchandise.

DIXON, CA (MPG) - Valerie Davis set off on a journey to understand her brother’s suicide and began a walk toward healing with a self-study into mental health while connecting with her artistic side to ease her agony.

Now, her work has grown out of her home and into a new location. True You Boutique has been established in the Almond Tree Mortgage building, 1115 Stratford Avenue, the commercial building on the corner across from Safeway Plaza.

“I started about four years ago. I really wanted to get into creating products and making products and selling. My brother wound up committing suicide in 2020 and when that happened, I needed an outlet to start healing,” she explained. “He had just turned 48 and suffered from PTSD and his emotions just overtook him and he could not heal from them. I learned a lot about mental illness and a lot of people suffer but are quiet about it.  I wanted to be their voice.”

Davis is a mother of three with her youngest about to graduate from Dixon High School. She also takes care of her own mother so finding time for herself was difficult, but she started slowly. She first created a workbook on ‘emotional processing.’

“It takes you through all your emotions like angry, sad, happy, and walks you through why you feel those emotions and how you can walk through them,” she explained. “Even the word ‘suicide’ has a stigma. I wanted people [who are hurting] to know I went through the same emotions that they are going through and that they are not alone.”

She then created a ‘prompt’ journal. “Whether you’re walking, driving, or reading, there are prompts for you to journal about what you are doing each day,” she said. Both books are available on Amazon.

During this time, she learned the importance of positive affirmations and started printing them on quality T-shirts, sweatshirts, and tote bags. She started connecting with other business owners in Dixon.

“I design the art myself and I have a vendor that puts it on the clothing and ships it out to the customer directly but if I get big enough in the future, I’ll get the equipment myself,” she said.  One of the shirts available has a message on the back that reads: “Dear Person behind me. I hope you know that you matter, the world is a better place with you in it, and everything is going to be OK. Love, the person in front of you.” Another one simply reads, “I am the Architect of my own happiness and well-being.”

Davis recently met Karstin Hickerson, a cancer survivor who also owns Almond Tree Mortgage.

“Karstin’s very supportive and positive because of what I’m doing with my business. She is amazing at all that she does, and we clicked at a Chamber business networking event. She learned I was looking for an office space,” said Davis. To see Davis’ work, go to She is also on Facebook at Truetoyou or you can reach her at (707) 432-8788.

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