One of my personas is as a gadfly. The term originated in the 16th century - it has a number of meaning nowadays. The official source - Mirriam-Webster - defines it as:
in the word's everyday usage, a social role or a character played by an actor. The word derives from the Latin for "mask" or "character", derived from the Etruscan word "phersu", with the same meaning.
it does not usually refer to a literal mask but to the "social masks" all humans supposedly wear.
Wikipedia captures more of what I hope for in their definition:
1 : any of various flies (as a horsefly, botfly, or warble fly) that bite or annoy livestock
2 : a person who stimulates or annoys especially by persistent criticism
This tradition of hoping - and agitating - for a change that produces a greater good traces it's origin all the way back to Socrates:
a term for people who upset the status quo by posing upsetting or novel questions, or attempt to stimulate innovation by proving an irritant.
Trust me, I am no Socrates - I am a gadfly none the less. And I think Jessica Hagy of indexed has been listening into my joys & struggles when she posts this today:
The establishment of a duty to seek to do good (as well as to avoid doing harm) is the deafening “music” that Socrates hears as he listens avidly to the rhetorical arguments of the Laws, long after the assertion of the no-harm doctrine has made his choice clear. Socrates’ capacity to do good for his fellows is implied by the extended gadfly metaphor. He imagines that his critical sting really can awaken at least some Athenians and he refuses to regard anyone as ineducable. His conviction that he had a duty and a capacity to improve others was (or at least Plato supposed it was) why the real, historical Socrates chose to defend himself before the mass audience of Athenian jurors in