Marian devotion is not an easy thing to come to - it took me, a (poorly catechized) cradle Catholic, quite a while as an adult to feel comfortable with it. Don’t worry if it doesn’t come naturally; you’ve been away from this understanding for most of your life!
Try and think of it more in a family context. Would it be a distraction to go to your mom to help you talk to your brother or your father? Of course not! Often, if mom’s on your side the others will listen more attentively.
The Catholic (and Orthodox) understanding is more like that. Christ is our Brother, God our Father, and Mary is our mother (scriptural citations available, if required). Through baptism, we become adopted (though truly) children of God.
This is easiest to come to if you understand that Mary was the mother of Jesus, we are brothers of Jesus, and therefore Mary is our mother, too.
You can also come to this understanding as Mary as our mother by thinking of the indwelling Christ - if Christ truly lives within us, Mary will look upon us as she looks upon her Son. If we die to ourselves to allow Christ to live within us, how could she look on us and not see her Son? How could we look to her and not see our mother? The closer you grow to Christ, the more you’ll be able to look to Mary as your mother. Conversely, the more you’re able to look to Mary as your mother, the closer you’ll grow to Christ.
A third way to come to this understanding is a biblical exegesis of John 19:26-7 and Rev 12:17. Pay particular attention to the use of the plural in the Greek John 19:26-7, specifically (in Greek) “took her as their own”. In Rev 12, we are shown the woman (Mary/Israel/Church) who gives birth to the Man (Jesus) and the dragon/serpent (Satan), and St. Michael. Here (as in most of Revelations), the scripture is polyvalent in its symbolism - many symbols can stand for different things. The primary symbol of the woman, however, is Mary. This is demonstrable in seeing that every other character symbol is a person. To interpret the woman as anything other than a person is to be inconsistant with the text. I’ll stop here, or else I’ll type all day long. If you need further help with this, please let me know.
SO…do you have to go through Mary? Nope. Come boldly before the throne and praise Jesus with your whole heart, mind, soul and strength. Does it help to have mom on your side? Always. If you meditate on the life of Christ through Mary’s eyes, her soul will maginify the Lord for you (Luke 1:46). Also, remember that the prayer of a righteous man availeth much, and no stricly human person has ever been more righteous than Our Lady, full of grace (kecharitomene).
Once you feel at home with the family-context of the Church, I believe you’ll feel more at home with coming to Mary. She’s the best prayer partner a person can have! Don’t be afraid to look on her as your mother as you look on God as your Father - if she was good enough for Jesus, she’s good enough for us! After all, what does it mean to be a Christian?
For a “from the heart” approach to Mary by a Jewish-turned-Evangelical-turned-convert to Catholicism, I recommend this tape by a Catholic Answers apologist, Rosalind Moss. She’s excellent!