Unlike a conventional academic essay, a personal narrative is about your own experiences or feelings. Still, a personal narrative contains a "thesis," the main point you are trying to communicate. Because a personal narrative allows you more creative freedom than a traditional essay, you don't need a one-sentence thesis that neatly summarizes your argument. Instead, you can get creative and write a thesis that is more suggestive or ambiguous.
You can begin a personal narrative by simply stating the main point of your piece. If, for instance, your narrative is about a difficult experience during your childhood, start with something like, "Childhood experiences stay with us all our lives, even the bad ones." Beginning your thesis with the main point provides a focus for the remainder of the paper. Be clear, and expand upon your main point in the paragraphs and sentences that follow.
Sometimes the best thesis for a personal narrative begins in the middle of a thought. This places the reader right in the middle of the action and can be a more gripping way to begin a thesis. For example, in a personal narrative about your first day of kindergarten, begin with something like, "Why do I still remember that day after all these years?" Instead of telling your reader the lesson you will try to impart, you are setting up an anecdote by showing its effect in the present.
Personal narratives are stories, so begin your thesis by launching right into the plot from the beginning. One way to do this is to adopt the present tense while narrating the past and setting the scene. By illustrating the past as if it is happening now, you make your reader feel the immediacy of the event. For instance, your thesis might begin, "It is raining out. I see flashing lights and loud noises. All of a sudden, I realize it's an ambulance."
Although your personal narrative is a story about yourself, your thesis can begin with a short anecdote that pertains to your own story. This way, you clue your reader into the theme before you even get to your own narrative. For a personal narrative about drug abuse, for instance, your thesis could be about someone you knew who struggled with a similar problem for years. In showing how he dealt the the issue, you can compare or contrast it to your own narrative.