I don’t think that CSS is really that bad as far as syntax and implementation. The difficulty comes from the inherent nature of styling. There isn’t a one-size fits all approach for styling every webpage without making your CSS very complicated - That is why we have frameworks now to remove some of that tediousness.
That being said, I would work in the way that the projects recommend. DON’T use a framework for your first couple of projects. Mind you, they will probably look like crap like mine, but it serves to build your understanding. When you understand and then you go up to frameworks, you will be able to pump out code that looks nice and then just do some minor personalization tweaks where you want.
Don’t give up! Most importantly, have fun!
And your first project here looks pretty good