Alanis Morissette

05/26/2004 at 04:00 PM EDT

Alanis Morissette
Alanis Morissette
Nancy Kaszerman/Zuma
Alanis Morissette earned herself a reputation with 1995's Jagged Little Pill, singing the bitter breakup anthem "You Oughtta Know." But now the former child actress is about to turn 30, and with age comes a more mature collection, with a much gentler title: So-Called Chaos. Morissette recently chatted with PEOPLE before filming a two-hour special for the Oxygen Network – which included a performance on a double-decker bus – and talked about the changes in her life, including finding a steady love, actor Ryan Reynolds (Van Wilder).

So with this new CD, have you heard from any of your old boyfriends?
Some of them I've spoken with, some I would like to speak with a little bit more. When Jagged Little Pill came out, a couple of people called. But nowadays I like to check in with someone (before recording). If it's someone that I'm really close with, I'll say, "This song is based on our relationship and I want to play this for you."

How do you think you've matured since Jagged Little Pill?
I wrote a song called "This Grudge," which is on this (new) record and it's really inspiring me to take that next step of forgiveness. As a young kid I used to forgive people right away and not allow myself to feel the anger or the resentment or the pain. I've always felt that forgiveness was a form of denial. But now I'm seeing that I actually have to feel anger first, and then later I can forgive.

And your boyfriend understands all of this?
Ryan is clearly the most courageous person on the planet because he's so supportive of my expression remaining intact that he says, "If it's your truth, go for it." But my level of consideration has gone up a little bit – not entirely – but, a little bit.

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What about talking about old lovers in your music?
He gets it more than any man I've met. He has this fantastic acerbic kind of humor in the way he writes – he's a brilliant writer – so we have that in common, that very visceral, urgent expression in our art, writing, music. So he gets it.

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